All in the Family (Home)

The pressing need for Multigenerational Housing is apparent as you drive through suburban neighborhoods and notice the number of cars in the garage and on the driveway. Many young adults are back home after graduating from college and find that high paying jobs are non-existent. Young adults who have served in the military find it necessary to move back in with their parents as do single parents who cannot afford to live on their own. In light of today’s challenging job market, they do not plan on leaving home anytime soon. In a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 13 percent of parents with grown children reported that at least one of their adult offspring had moved back home in the past year. Roughly half of the 18 to 24 age demographic, still live with their parents.

What about Grandma and Grandpa, who thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, are living longer than ever? If Grandma or Grandpa has reached the age of 65, he or she can expect to live another 20 years. They may not be able to afford the $4,000 to $5,000 a month expense of a quality retirement facility for the next 20 years.

Nationally and locally, homebuilders and remodelers are taking note of the need for accommodating multigenerational families.  They don’t necessarily need to build larger homes, but rather homes that address the need for a separate living space. This can be accomplished by providing an In-Law suite on the first floor that would give grandparents the privacy and solitude they may require, yet at the same time allow care-givers the ability to monitor their activities. The In-Law suite may include a separate entrance and wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or walker.  It may also include a small Kitchen depending on the level of independence of the grandparents.

Those who are considering building a new home may opt to utilize the space above the garage for an apartment to provide living space for young adults returning home. This would also serve as a provision for guests who plan to stay for an extended period of time.  Another solution is to include a Master Bedroom suite on both the first and second floors.  This arrangement allows grandparents to occupy the first floor Master suite or for married children to occupy the second floor Master suite, depending on individual family needs.

The economic crisis that is transforming America is also changing the way we live. The outcome will change the way America views its housing needs well into the future. As is often the case, we can more clearly see the future by looking into our past. That is because time and time again, America has reverted to its roots when confronting a challenge. The root of the American family is the home.

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