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Navigating the Challenges of Multi-Generational Living

Updated: Jan 16

Should we or shouldn’t we?

The single mother of two young boys strolled the neighborhood with her extended family, admiring the well-kept homes that were outside her financial reach. “I will never live in a neighborhood like this,” she remarked. Within a year, she was there.

The once-perfect house that my husband and I occupied was now less-than-perfect house. It wasn’t too big; just configured wrong for the empty nest. As we contemplated down-sizing, our daughter tried to locate affordable housing closer to us to ease the inconvenience of child care when needed, with an eye on a different school district.

Like many great ideas, we can’t pinpoint when the plan to share a house came up.

Knowing that it would present unique challenges, I dove into Google to assist with the thought process. Unfortunately, most references were to the financial aspects of investing in multi-generational homes. Builders were not yet offering accommodations for multi-generations, and there was nothing about the challenges of daily living.

Searching for houses, we determined that we were looking for a multi-family home. My husband and I were still working and socially active. Both families liked to entertain, and the different generations had disparate groups of friends. While we enjoyed being close to our grandsons, my husband and I were ready for the empty nest. Kitchens did not provide enough space for two cooks. Private areas were not private. “In-law suites” offered inadequate space. Storage, an issue for nuclear families, is an even bigger issue with multi-families and generations.

Working with a realtor, we found a home that, with some renovation, has accommodated us now for over six years. It hasn’t always been easy. But it is rewarding.

I am now 71 years old, retired, and living in a house with my husband, our single-mom daughter, two grandsons and a dog. Over the years I have blogged on this site, not only for myself, but for other families who are considering this adventure. Recent events are directing us towards the end of this noble experiment. Until then, there is fodder for conversation. And no regrets.  

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