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Why People Are Choosing Multi-Generational Living

Posted by Karen on April 8, 2022

Updated August 20, 2022

As a real estate agent for seniors I wrote this article and produced this video* so that I could address an old topic that is now new again! Multi-generational living was fairly common many decades ago, and it is making a comeback. Or is it? *(scroll to the bottom of this page for the video)

How it starts

When multi-generations exist in the family dynamic, thoughts turn to everybody’s living situation and what might work best for everyone. 

One option that is making a comeback from generations of the past is multi-generational living.

Multi-generational living:

a living arrangement with more than ONE adult generation living under the same roof

For example, if you and your spouse decide to live in the same home as your parents or adult children, that’s multi-generational living.

The idea is simple: A family lives together as an extended family unit. It could be grandparents, grandchildren, adult children, parents and little kids, all under one roof, even if you arrange to be separated by private entrances or separate suites.

There’s a difference now in the attitudes and perceptions of multi-generational living than there was in recent past years.  More families are openly talking about the idea of living together. Multi-generational living was once viewed as a hush-hush subject that suggested a family wasn’t well enough off financially to be able to afford hired care for their aging family members or help adult children get started in a home of their own.

Pottery Barn, a company that knows a thing or two about home design and decor, is now offering accessible furniture to help homeowners age in place. 

Clearly, they have done their research!



As we all know, times have significantly changed.  For instance, home buyers have been re-considering the idea of multi-generational living as one of their responses to the covid-19 pandemic. 

Families who ended up living together during the pandemic are finding out it is a workable solution to many other things associated with family life.  And they just might carry on with this newfound living arrangement.

Families are learning that having grandparents and grandkids living together has many benefits.  The grandkids can form special bonds with their grandparents that they would never have been able to do during more formal-style visits.  The children have more people around who care about them and take an interest in what they are doing and how their day went.  Essentially you have a little village of adults in your home to share in the childcare needs.  And we all know it takes a village to raise children.  So why not have them all under the same roof?

Another benefit to having more than two or three generations under one roof is that the children learn first-hand about family history and how to have patience with the changes in mobility and abilities of people who are aging.

Why is multi-generational living becoming popular?

Basically, there are two reasons people end up living in multi-generational situations.

The first reason is that it is done by choice.  For example: for a grandparent to receive care from the family or for a grandparent to help care for their grandchildren.

The second reason is that it is done out of necessity.  When it is a forced decision, multiple generations tend to live in a small home, with little privacy or personal space.  They live together under any circumstance in order to make ends meet, pay the bills and put food on the table.  As you might guess, this is the least desirable way to have to live together, but it is sometimes necessary.  So, we all do what we have to do to support each other.

As I just mentioned, there are several reasons families are coming together to live under one roof. 

Some reasons include adult “boomerang” children returning home as the result of some financial or a relationship setback, an older population living longer and not ready for or wanting to live in an assisted living facility, and an economy requiring more than one paycheque to get through life.  People are able to take care of their aging parents in close quarters when they otherwise might have to travel many hours to be able to do that.  And the adults in the multi-generational house can care for the children.  This eliminates fears about nursing homes and daycares.  It gives the sandwich generation some comfort that multi-generations are being cared for.  The overall goal is to support one another with personal care, or finances, or both. 

Here is a summary of some of the advantages of multi-generational living:

  • People in multigenerational homes can share financial expenses
  • People in multigenerational households can share homeowner responsibilities
  • Living under one roof as a family can strengthen relationships
  • Multi-generational living can save a significant amount of money on child care and long-term senior care

How To Maintain Peace In a Multi-Generational Household

When the people you live with have wants and needs that differ dramatically from your own, it can be difficult to find enough common ground with each other to peacefully co-exist.  When you disagree on meal preferences, music selections and volume, and yes, politics, you might start re-thinking why you ever agreed to this living situation.

An excellent way to avoid as much conflict as you can is to set the household expectations and personal boundaries at the very beginning of your living arrangement. 

It should be made clear as to who will be cooking, shopping, cleaning, and doing the yard work, as well as knowing in advance which areas of the home are not to be considered a shared space.  How will you entertain guests?  What time do guests need to leave?  Who gets to park in the garage? 

When families have these understandings before moving in together, there is much less opportunity for disagreement.  And on that note, it would be a great idea to discuss in advance of living together how disagreements will be handled and resolved.

When expectations are communicated well in advance, living in a multi-generational household can be very rewarding.  Your family becomes like your own personal little community. 

I hope this article gave you some things to think about. If you would like to know what to look for in a house that could work well for a multi-generational living situation, click here to view a video I produced that addresses that topic. As a seniors real estate specialist I discuss what to look for in a home when you are considering living with more than two or three generations in one household.

I would love to hear from you so that we can chat about how I can help you reach your real estate goals, and answer your questions!

Click here to reach me by email.

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