Multi-generational housing.

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There is an uptick in the trend of multigenerational housing talk. My husband and I care for my 96+ mother who has lived with us 36+ years. When we built our home 22 years ago, we never dreamed that our retirement years would be spent caring for my mother. If we had just thought a little ahead we might have realized that an in-law suite would have made this caregiving job a good bit easier.

First - privacy. The coming and going of multiple adults within the same living space day after day can become annoying and over time downright unbearable. Visitors can come and go without disrupting the rest of the household.

Second - independence. Mom would have had a greater sense of independence and freedom as would we. In spite of her age, she is still able to toilet herself and make herself something simple to eat, no cooking, but healthy snacking between full meals.

Third - Personal Care. All of the services available in an assisted living arrangement or even a nursing home are available for in-home care. The main reason we don't take advantage of all the services is because we don't want to have people in our home every day or every other day looking after Mom. But it would be nice to not have those responsibilities.

Fourth - end of life. In home hospice is available almost everywhere and what person would not prefer to be able to leave this world from their own comfortable bed.

Fifth - safety. It is much easier to create a safe environment. A safety alert button / call button can be used for emergencies.

Six - room for rent. Either as a pre-planning before it is needed or after the family member passes, an in-law suite can be rented out for added income. These suites can either be attached to a main house or unattached but nearby/next to the main house. Thorough vetting should be done for unknown renters. Preferably another elder who needs a good, safe place to live.

Multigenerational housing has a lot of advantages and caregivers would be the big winners. Baby Boomers and Caregivers should be actively engaged in supporting and increasing the awareness of the need for this type of housing.

1 Comment

This is essential, and I wish it was allowed in more communities. It's against the law to have a grandmother's suite in my county here in Virginia. Yet I have seen them built in homes costing over 1,000,000.

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