Tag Archives: aging parents

Multigenerational Housing

I love when friends and itsafullnest readers come across a story, article, news clip, or funny tweet – related to multigenerational families and in law dynamics. They think of me and forward the information.

[So that means you can send multigenerational/in law stuff for me to check out, too. Thanks!]

I was reading NPR’s article Home In a Home As Families Live Together Longer this morning, sippin’ on my green smoothie, and getting my feet rubbed on The Sharper Image foot massager. Yes, a great way to start my day.

It’s was also great to learn builders are noticing  multigenerational trends and creating homes that support this living situation.

I was intrigued by the various layouts this article mentioned. Having common areas and separate living space is a great idea. Separate entrances or smaller, stand alone buildings – on the same property – is also appealing.

But on the other hand…

I have to be honest and admit I read many articles, about multigenerational family trends, with a bit of skepticism.

Here’s why…

Many of the articles do a fine job explaining this trend exists and it’s a throw back to post World War II America. What the articles do not do a fine job of explaining or exploring is how this multigenerational trend is positively impacting families who opt in.

Yes, I know aging parents and “boomerang kids” are real factors. I also know certain ethnic groups lean toward multigenerational dwelling – I happen to be in one of them*.

What I find unsettling is many of these articles covertly describe mutligenerational households and families as a situation of settling.

Examples from this article:

The number of so-called multi-generational households — where adults are living with their elderly parents or grown children — has jumped since the Great Recession forced Americans to rethink living on their own.

“It’s not the nuclear family, the American dream family that we see all the time…”

“Although extremely popular within the Asian culture, (multi-generational living) is also something a lot of other people are having to deal with,” she said.

Builders say the tendency to live together longer comes down to a matter of economics as families of varied ethnic backgrounds cope with the wake of the recession and the needs of aging parents, who may have seen their retirement savings depleted in the downturn.

“We see so many families that are living like this,” said Jeremy Parness, Lennar’s division president in Las Vegas. “There’s so many different reasons, all driven mostly by economics.”


OK, so maybe I’m overly sensitive here since I enjoy and benefit greatly from my multigenerational living situation.

I’m hoping the reporter was trying to shed some informative light on this multigenerational trend – but at the same time – why all the buzzkill language?

In order to consider a multigenerational household, do you need to have a combination of the following…?

  • no job
  • broke
  • unable to launch from the family nest
  • codependent
  • non-vibrant and able to care for themselves parents

Other than my sensitivities – I’m wondering if other people and families decide not to “opt in” to the multigenerational lifestyle because the current resources don’t paint a balanced or kinda pretty picture.

Readers – what do you think?


*This article didn’t mention it, but the Pew Research Center mentions African Americans are third largest ethnic group living in multigenerational situations.

Love Your Parents {Get over your own sh*t}

“Love your parents. We are so busy growing up, we often forgot they are also growing old.”

My friend posted that quote on Facebook today and it made me take a big pause.

Living in a multigenerational home has put the aging process at the top of my mind. I’m not talking about aging in regards to staying wrinkle free, getting a facelift or anything like that.  I’m thinking about aging in regards to how time is spent as my loved ones (husband, kids, mother-in-law, my parents) are growing and growing older.

I’ve been spending more time having conversations with my family members about their perspectives on the past, present, and future. It’s been fun and educational to write down and record their voices and lens on their individual and familiar worlds. I love seeing the intersections of my children’s realities with their grandparents. I’m trying to realign certain areas of my life to be more in-tune with them.

I’ve been talking with more caregiver experts and organizations about the aging process, and what I can expect as an adult to aging parents. I think it is unfortunate we do not talk more openly about this, as a family, when there is time to create an “aging” plan. I know there is fear in thinking about the “old years”, but there is also the difficult burden that comes when these conversations happen once crisis has set in.

My parents have been fairly open to discussing this topic with me – if I initiate it. Part of me thinks that’s because I’m an only child and they don’t want me to be in alone in caring for them  – if/when they need me to step up and in.

I get stressed a bit when I think about this topic and my mother-in-law. Hubby and I are not talking about it with my mother-in-law because she shuts us down if we try to bring it up, and hubby is not discussing it with his siblings. I’m not sure what to do about it – so I do nothing.

I’ve been noticing the natural tensions that come with generational differences. I’ve also noticed I’m not as patient as I know I should be. My children, or course, are in their own worlds and time moves so slowly in how they conduct their business. Nothing seems urgent and they often lose time in doing whatever moves them. I admire this, but I’m also challenged with slowing my own thinking because there is so much that “has to be done”.

With my parents and mother-in-law, they are also in their own worlds with time moving slowly. I hear them telling more stories from the past and fewer from the present. The way we talk about days, weeks, and months is not in sync. I’m looking beyond the current week or month. They are just focused on today – as it should be. I’m learning, daily, from them on how to stay in the moment.

My next step in my own growth…increase the quality time I spend with my children, parents, and mother-in-law – and keep my interactions based in love.

image 1, 2