Empty Nester No More: Boomers Brace for Parental Tenants


The number of multi-generational households is likely to double over the next few years, according to a recent report published by PulteGroup, a national homebuilding company.

Thanks to a rapidly aging population and a down economy, more and more baby boomer homeowners are seeing their adult children return to the nest, or are faced with the decision of allowing elderly parents to reside in the familial abode.

This trend has been gradually gathering momentum over the past few years.

According to a different study by the Pew Research Center, 2008 marked a record year for multi-generational living, with 49 million Americans residing in a household containing two or more adult age groups. About 20 percent of seniors (aged 65 and older) reported staying in a house with multiple generations.

The PulteGroup survey found that a significant number of middle-aged adults are either already living with aging parents, or expect that they will have to do so in the future.

72 percent of these homeowners anticipate having to revamp their current residence, or purchase a new one to accommodate their senior tenants.

According to the survey, the caregiver wish list for home modifications includes a number of different features: more bathrooms, separate living areas (mother-in-law suites) and more expansive family rooms.

Women were more likely than men to place a high value on personal space, with 62 percent saying they desired distinct living areas for aging relatives.

There's no easy answer to the question: Should I move my parent into my home?

Adult children often struggle when deciding whether their elderly parent(s) should move in with them, enter a senior housing community, or continue living on their own.

There are many factors to take into account when pondering the living-with-family option—individual family dynamics, your loved ones' health conditions, availability of space, financial considerations, etc.

Moving an aging relative into your home may make financial sense, but it's also important to consider the impact the added dynamic will have on your existing relationships. Consider the following article: Living with Elderly Parents: Do You Regret the Decision ?

Respondents to the PulteGroup survey indicated their mixed feelings on the inter-generational relationship front—citing increased family bonding opportunities as a benefit of living with aging parents, while admitting that having more than one generation living underneath the same roof made for a more argumentative environment overall.

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!


Interesting article about the plight of empty nesters and their elderly parents. I feel it is more important to take care of the family you created than the one you were born to. My priorities rest first with my husband and I , my children and my grandchildren. It is the role I assumed when I married and had children. I have no problem helping my elderly parents, but not at the expense of the family I created. I am a wife and mother first. I also have made preparations for my own future so that my children never have to be put in this delimma. My concern is more for the future generations and the struggles they may have to face, not for past generations who had it better, but never bothered to plan for their later senior years.
I thought I could help my elderly parent. We agreed to 1 year so she could get the medical care she needed.

I love my mother, I know she gave birth to me and worked hard to raise her kids, but my life has become hell.

Only 3 and 1/2 months in and I've been to numerous urgent cares and 3 emergency rooms.

My mother is not well, she is an anxiety driven hypochondriac. I tried, I believe her, argued with doctors that they weren't helping her. It turns out she is making herself sick. We got her a place to live In a nice senior community for the 1 year. We are footing the bill. We jumped thru hoops now she doesn't want to live there.

The is combative, argumentative, acuses us of things and tells people I am mean to her.

I've done nothing but try to help her, my spouse and I are ready to have nervous breakdown.

She refuses to sign medical Poland mental powers of attorney, so when things home front I can't help and then she blames me for it.

I've had to take her medication and schedule it. She is supposed to be on antibiotics for an infection but comes up with all sorts of reasons she can't, won't and so on. I'm trying to help her get well, but I feel like I'm at t war.

I. Know people will write how ungrateful I am. Please do not go there, you are not. Walking in my shoes. My mom is literally making me sick, I'm traumatized by her abuse and then she tells people how wonderful her children a re.

I've asked for help, I can't cope, ready to have a mental breakdown, scratch that, I am having a mental breakdown.

I feel like my life is. Jumping thru hoops she causes then changes her mind.

Then there is the manipulation, she lies and tells family I don't treat her well. I've put. My health, marriage on hold, sent her on vacations anything yo try and make her happy.

She is sick, and I'm not equipped to handle it. I feel hopeless and angry and sad all at once.

I don't know the solution, this is my story and it is hell.

I keep hoping for a breakthrough but throw it is none.

You can't help people who don't want to be helped, I should have learned this from my alcoholic dad. I had to set boundaries, I grew up and I decided when I would see him, but never would I have thought my mother would become this way and refuse trea tent, yet call 911 for any reason at all.

I'm lost inwantnher yo rho, I feel guilty, but i can't help it I'm miserable.