An interesting thing happens when a single family household makes room for Grandma and Grandpa…everybody feels more loved and valued. Starting at the top of the generational pyramid, combining households allows the senior generation to:
- Give their time to childcare/car pool/housekeeping duties
- Contribute financially to the whole family’s welfare
- Live in a mentally stimulating, vibrant environment.
For the second, or “Sandwich Generation”— those who care for both their parents and children— the creation of a three generation household can significantly ease the press of day to day logistics. In 60% of US households, (April 2015 statistics),
both parents working equates to “no time left over” for anything else…In single parent households, 90% of the adults work full time away from home, so the time press is even greater. When Grandparents can assume some of the chauffeuring for kids’ activities, grocery shopping, even waiting for deliveries and home maintenance visits, it reduces stress on the working adults in the family. Dependable after school care and oversight as the kids get older lifts a major financial burden from the parents as well. Even if the older family members don’t drive and are in need of assistance with their health and personal care routines, the family receives a significant gift of time and ease of mind to care for their parents in their own home.
But the most significant beneficiaries of grandma and grandpa just down the hallway come to the third generation. Katie and Anna Myhr, whose grandmother lived with them for more than 15 years, say they “loved being with their Grandmother” every day after school, and like many other kids whose nurturing grandparents were woven into their lives, felt like they were more loved and cherished than other kids. Anna notes that it didn’t seem unusual for their grandmother to be woven into their lives, “it was just the way our family was.” Katie describes it as “comforting” when they were little and their grandmother made their after-school hot chocolate and snacks, but on the other end of the spectrum, “comforting” to be able to schedule her personal care assistance into their daily lives when she needed their help.
Sandy Myhr, whose mother Thelma Feehan lived with her and husband Bill for nearly two decades feels like there were so many advantages to the multi-generational lifestyle. “At one point Bill and I each had a parent in our household. I think it was clear that it gave our parents a real sense of purpose to be helping us with the over-all household management, but it also gave structure to their daily lives, and made them feel wanted. When we combined resources from the sale of both of our homes, we could buy a well-designed house in Fountain Hills that gave us both space and privacy. “It wasn’t a ‘Grandma lives with us’ situation; both of us were owners of a single home. And although it is not always easy when two adult women want to manage a single household ‘their way’, the plusses far outweighed the minuses. We never had to have the heart-wrenching “you just can’t live on your own” crisis because multi-generational living situations tend to transition into new form as the need arises.”
The numbers of two, three and even four generations sharing a home has nearly tripled in the US since the dawning of the new Millennium. While financial considerations may play a large part, new patterns of family life seem to be emerging, with each generation contributing to enrich the fabric of the family unit.
At Sonoran Lifestyle Real Estate, we enjoy helping Multi-Gen Families find their happy place. Contact us to see a variety of custom homes offering nurturing environments, beautiful views and fun outdoor spaces.
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