It wasn’t that long ago that it was not unusual for three generations to live in one house or apartment. Or consider farm families with the patriarch/matriarch living in one home and second and third generations living in other homes on the same property.
Multigenerational Homes, also known as multi-gen or next-gen homes are returning today. Many 25-35-year-olds are not moving out and increasing numbers of boomers over 65 are moving in, that leaves the 40-60-year-olds providing for multiple generations under one roof.
It is estimated that millions of Canadians live in multigenerational homes for reasons of practicality, affordability, quality time with family.
It’s practical because when needed there are additional caregivers either for the older or the younger. It can provide an alternative to assisted living for aging parents. It can provide an alternative to day care or after-school care for children.
Fostering better family ties, building more memories for children, and having greater commitment in caregiving are just some of the relational benefits gained in a multigenerational home.
How to make it work in your house.
While some may wonder about privacy or separate entrances, there are ample variety of floor plans that give a wide range of choices. Some are as simple as having a parents’ suite. More elaborate plans are multi-level or even two houses on one lot.
A good way to start the planning would be to gather everyone around the table, or on a Zoom call, and talk about what’s most important for your family. Listening to every family member and respecting everyone’s needs and preferences for multigenerational living will guarantee harmony in your new home.
Another step is to consult with a knowledgeable interior designer when you are still discussing layouts. The interior design community has developed special expertise for those seeking accommodations for aging in place. There are a multitude of design factors to be considered: Size of doorways. Bathroom accessibility. The height of outlets, windows, shelving and other items. The use of motorization on window treatments and some seating.
Whether you are planning new construction or adapting a current structure, doing ample research and working with a knowledgeable design professional can help you have more confidence. You’ll want your new spaces to be long lasting, functional for changing lifestyles and ages, and so enjoyable that your home is a constant reminder of the good choices you made.