A Practical Guide for Managing a Multi-generational Household

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Managing a home of any size with more than one generation is a tough challenge. Just ask any parent. If you have kids, you have a multi-generational home. Generational needs are different. What is common for an adult may be a safety issue for a child. What is safe for a 10-year-old may be deadly to a toddler. 

The situation is not any easier when the other generation is older rather than younger. The dream bathroom of someone in their late thirties may be a nightmare to someone in their late sixties. These types of practical issues are compounded when the multi-generational living situation wasn’t planned from the beginning. It is always more difficult to retrofit than to start out with a particular configuration in mind.

Safety is not the only issue to consider. There is also the matter of entertainment, medical conditions, and transportation. All of these things present different challenges depending on the generation dealing with them. Managing it all can be a handful, especially when all three generations are sharing the same space and resources. Here is a practical guide to dealing with the unique challenges of a multi-generational household:

Accessibility

When young and healthy people buy houses with stairs, they are not envisioning themselves as elderly people with knee and hip replacements. They think they will be forever 21 with perfect skin, an even smile, and a head full of hair rivaled only by heavy metal bands from the 80s. 

Perhaps they think they will sell the house before they get too old to enjoy it. But those plans will be shaken up if they have to care for aging parents. Suddenly that luxurious home is not so accessible to everyone. Fortunately, the best stair chair lift installers can retrofit most staircases with a mechanism capable of lifting a person up the stairs rather than them making the climb down. 

Other accessibility considerations involve moving the furniture around, or even getting rid of some of the furniture to make way for a person to move around more freely with a cane or walker. Generations on both ends means baby gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs that work with the stair lift. On the one hand, you have to make the home more accessible. On the other hand, less so. It may be best to reconsider that house with stairs before you buy.

Nursing

One of the eldercare options you have to consider is placing a beloved senior in a nursing home. It could be that an in-home nurse can do what is needed, allowing you to take care of your parents in-home. Some insurance policies will cover most of the cost of a visiting nurse who only has to perform limited duties. That is a lot less expensive for the insurance company than paying for a nursing home and 24 hour care.

In terms of money, you may need to budget for both a nurse and a babysitter. Both generations will need looking after when you take a break from care-taking duties. The good news is that cities with public transportation usually have options for transporting seniors with door to door service for little to no cost. Look up paratransit resources in your city for more information. You’re on your own for soccer practice.

Entertainment

There is a good chance that seniors and teens will have very different tastes in TV and music. To cope with this, you can purchase the family plan of your favorite streaming service so that everyone can listen to the music they enjoy. The same can be done with TV entertainment. You can get something like Hulu TV or Netflix and make a different profile for every member of the family. You can control parental settings for the kids while the parents watch whatever they like.

Multi-generational homes have their challenges. But they also have their benefits like being surrounded by the most important people in your life. Just make sure the home is accessible to all, has options for nurses and sitters that can relieve you from time to time, and has a range of entertainment that will please anyone from any era.

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