Recently, the NBC Nightly News ran a three-part series on the state of caregiving in the United States. In the final segment, Amy Goyer was interviewed about multigenerational living. In a companion piece to the NBC series, Goyer, who has worked with multigenerational families for many years and is currently living in a household with her parents and a live-in caregiver, wrote an article for the AARP offering tips for those in similar situations, touched on below.
For more multigenerational tips, check out Goyer’s column When Generations Share Space.
- Always plan ahead.Â This only helps to protect family relationships. Discuss things like boundaries, use of space and optimal ways to communicate what is and what’s not working. Also, map out roles and responsibilities, even put it in writing if it helps. If you can remember what it was like living with roommates during your college days, you’ll know you need to give a little room and make sacrifices, lest you drive yourself crazy.
- Go over shared expenses.Â Make the time to create both individual budgets and a shared household budget. Just make sure who is paying for what and how the bills will be paid — we all know that money is a touchy subject.
- Use your space wisely.Â Make sure your home is equipped to meet everyone’s needs, including safe and private space for each family member. Heads up: some families may need to find a home designed for multiple generations, while others may need to remodel and/or modify an existing home.
- Make family time.Â With multiple generations living in the same house, you have opportunities that few families have — the chance to spend a lot of quality time together. Goyer suggests creating routine time together, such as shared meals, game nights, movie nights, etc.
- Go with the flow.Â Expect that there will be conflicts, frustrations and moments when you wish you still lived alone or only with your spouse. This way when drama appears you’ll be better equipped to handle it. Likewise, make time for yourself to get away from it all — it’ll help you be able to love your family even more.
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