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Downside of Multigenerational HomesIt Can Be a Daunting Task

People who experience multigenerational homes know that it can sometimes have its downside. But it isn’t all that rare in our close-knit society. Where we often find 3 generations of families living under the same roof.

Sometimes, there comes a time that older adults make the decision to give up their home and move in with their adult children. They may not need complete care at all. But the deeper reason here is that they are unable to stay by themselves anymore. This results in a multigenerational household where seniors, their adult children, and young grandchildren are living together under one roof. It can be a daunting task but so can the benefits. And many families are making this thing work.

The Downside of Families Living Together

When you’re living in a multigenerational household, you are stepping outside as we used to as our cultural norm a little bit. Because there are some differing expectations from what we may have thought we were going to have of our future self-picture. There is some emotional conflict that comes from that. This article goes through how the adult child might feel. How the younger people in the house might feel and how it will affect the oldest adult in the generational house. That is why it wraps up by talking about kind of the emotional bullet points. Points of how to maybe make the transition better or easier. Acknowledging that some of these feelings are going to exist helps with how you manage the downside of multigenerational homes.

Downside for Seniors

My father came to live with us last year. We’ve been a multigenerational household from teens all the way up to 60s for that year. There are some really great aspects just like what we’ve talked about on the last episode. The downsides though are also very real. Before my father moved in, I’ve spent some time creating a contract. The contract was more of an acknowledgment of the emotional place of each person in the household.

Having that very different perspective starting place made some difficulties. While the contract was a good intention, sometimes the fine bits got pushed to the wayside. One of the things that I found really interesting about the integrations is that you have a second chance to learn your parent. You have your child perspective and then your adult perspective. The downside though is that sometimes I think that we become our child self with our parent more than we would in any other situation. And they will adopt those same roles.

Downside for Kids

Depending on their age, it can also be difficult for kids to get accustomed to living with their grandparents. They may enjoy spending time with them and have a close relationship, but they will have to get used to a new routine. They will have to share their parents’ attention with their grandparents. It's because their parents may not be able to do with them as many things as before.

Being Really Honest with Your Loved One is Important

I work with adult children bringing in older adults quite often. Those people that have been most successful are the ones that first off come from a place of charity, and giving, and openness. Even before you ever have somebody live with you. Making sure that your heart is in the right place and that it’s not a chore because it can become a chore. It can get to that place. And if you’re not or already in a place of love and openness, then it makes it that much more complicated.

Also, remember to be an advocate for your loved one. Not feeling like you’re doing them a certain favor by having them in your space. But actually, that you’re advocating for their health and happiness. That you want the best for them and you feel like that’s living with you. That you actually implementing that charity of heart and advocating for that happiness. If you’re bringing your mom and your dad in your house, do not be expecting them to be a default babysitter.

Have That Open Dialogue

Having that open dialogue, and asking before you assume. We did go ahead and put him on a monetary agreement. So, we put in a small agreement that he was going to help us with a certain amount of rent and groceries each month and we will cover the rest. Because we had that conversation in the beginning. It set the groundwork really nicely.

If It's Not Meant to Be Just Let It Be
If maybe the relationship wasn’t great and maybe childhood left a bad taste in your mouth. Then it can be difficult for people to integrate into a multigenerational household.Kathe Kline and Jonna Overson on the Downside of Multigenerational Homes

More often multigenerational households are strange. Because they feel that there isn’t another choice. Some because of health or age, maybe a parent who is abusive, or neglectful. Then suddenly becomes the responsibility of the child who's not willing to say I want no responsibility but also has all these conflicting emotions.

If you do not feel comfortable having somebody living in your home. You do not have to do that. No matter how dire and the situation of the health might be. It’s ok for you not to do this. It’s ok for you not to take on this responsibility. If your parent left you in a place where you don’t feel emotionally interested, capable, or well enough to handle that. That’s ok, it doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human and you have to take care of you first.

About Our Co-Host

Jonna Overson is the Founder of Green Tree Home Care – a business that provides Care Professionals in the homes of clients so they can stay safe, cared for, and comfortable at home.

Jonna discovered a passion for working with the senior community 7 years ago. She is also part of the sandwich generation. She understands the challenge of balancing the needs of marriage, growing teens, and aging parents.

She is an expert on helping family members stay in their own home and was on the show before. You can hear her original interview on episode 24 when the show was still pretty new. You can check out her website at https://greentreehomecare.com/

Mentioned in this Episode:

RelationshipMatters.com – Challenges of Multigenerational Family Living

This post about retirement and retirement lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com