Multi-Generational Living

Multi-generational l is a term that describes a household where more than one adult generation lives together.

This can be adult children living with their parents, or children, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all living under one roof.

Extended-family households are on the rise in Australia for a number of reasons. These include the prohibitive cost of housing, childcare and good-quality aged care, and the social and economic impacts of COVID

Long-term evidence that interaction between generations is good for physical and mental health is convincing many families to live communally.

This style of living has also been the focus of the UK and Australian television documentary series Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds and Old People’s Home for Teenagers.

In many Asian, European and Middle Eastern countries, different generations of the same family living together is the norm. Different cultural ideas and expectations mean this  is a much more common lifestyle, with all parties accepting the compromises and benefits involved.

Multi-generational living has both advantage and drawbacks – let’s look at both.

Advantages

Social Inclusion, Companionship and Belonging

The health benefits of social inclusion – especially for older people – are well-documented. COVID lockdowns over the last few years have made the issue of isolation and loneliness worse – particularly among people who live alone. Being part of a household and a  supportive family can have a tremendously positive impact on physical and mental health.

Financial Benefits

Running one home is a lot cheaper than running two or three. In a household with several sources of income (including pensions, income from superannuation, government support and salary and wages) resources can be pooled to provide a comfortable standard of living, and to allow for other financial goals to be met, such as helping younger people save for a house deposit while avoiding the current high cost of rent.

Relationships, Role Models and Collective Wisdom

Having grandparents on hand to help with child-rearing and for advice and support can be a great advantage of a multi-generational household.

The wisdom and life experience of older people can be passed to a younger generation, and in turn, younger people can bring their energy and enthusiasm to parents and grandparents, helping them to stay young in mind and body!

Disadvantages

Reduced Privacy and More Noise

With larger households come the problems of increased noise, less privacy and an impact on independence if older members of the family need ongoing support.  Not all families can afford to renovate or move to a bigger home, so the reduced amount of space and solitude can put pressure on family relationships and be the cause of conflict.

Conflict and Tension

Even the closest of families don’t get along all of the time – and with everyone under the same roof, it can be hard to escape a tense situation or ongoing argument.

Disputes over Legal and Financial Issues

A sibling or child who is not part of the combined household may have a legal or financial argument when it comes to inheritance, the contribution to the cost of care for elderly parents, or their role in important family decisions.

How to Make it Work

Living in a successful multigenerational household doesn’t just happen- it takes communication, planning, respect and understanding. Here are some tips to make it work for everyone involved.

Define Responsibilities

Setting out roles, responsibilities and expectations from the outset can sidestep tension and friction. This can include discussions around who pays for what, chore rosters, caring responsibilities and what happens in an emergency or crisis.

Allow Personal Space

Give each member of the household their own space or time out in the event of a fight or disagreement. Privacy should still be respected – this can be as simple as knocking before opening doors. Finding places to go – either on your own or with someone else – can provide a much-needed circuit breaker for all members of the household.

Family Time

Enjoy each other’s company whenever possible. This could be a simple as a family dinner once a week, with everyone pitching in with the cooking and clean-up, or a shared project such as painting a room, going to an event as a family or teaching someone a new skill. Whatever the activity, the shared time and experience will forge valuable memories.

 

If you are moving, relocating, decluttering or downsizing as part of your move to a multi-generational household, Blue Lighthouse Relocations can help.

We are a professional, established provider of moving and relocation services throughout Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

We offer services to suit a wide range of situations:

 

Our initial consultation to determine your needs is at no cost or obligation to you.

Get in touch today – we look forward to helping you.

Call us on 1300 158 432.

Email our friendly relocations team on info@bluelighthouse.com.au

Send us a free quote request.