The Challenges of a Multigenerational Household

Sometimes a senior must make the decision to give up their home and move in with their adult child.  They may not need complete care, but may be unable to stay by themselves any more.  This results in a multigenerational household with seniors, their adult children, and young grandchildren living under the same roof.  The challenges can be great but so can the benefits and many families are making this unusual arrangement work.

The Challenges for the Senior

The senior must adjust to a new living situation where they are no longer the head of the household.  They have to merge their routine with the routines of the other family members – a lifestyle that they have not lived since their children moved out of their house.

Their role in the house has also changed from being the boss of their home and living an independent life to working with others and often conceding to their wishes about such things as mealtimes, foods, and plans.

The senior will have to get use to a new volume at home with busy kids running through the house and more activity than they are used to.  If the grandchildren are very young, they may hear crying and temper tantrums that they have not been used to deal with for several decades.

The living arrangement is not without its benefits for the senior.  They now have the ability to enjoy their family and grow closer to their young grandchildren.  They may find opportunities to feel useful by helping out a busy adult child with household duties or babysitting if their health allows it.  While this living arrangement can take a period of adjustment, it can be a wonderful chapter in their lives.

The Challenges for the Adult Child

Even though they may be sincere in their desire to care for their senior parents, it can be challenging to run such a complex household.  Their time has to be divided between their spouse and children and their parent while still taking care of their own needs.  The result is that all too often they neglect their own care and fail to make time to relax and do things they enjoy.

Family caregivers can find benefits from having their parents living with them if they can learn how to manage their time and allow others to help.  They will have more time to enjoy their parents as well as have some assistance with household tasks if the parent health allows it.  It may be something as simple as setting the table or even a listening ear when they need someone to confide in.

Challenges for Kids in the Home

Depending on their age, it can also be difficult for kids to adjust 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.  Their parents may not be able to do with them as many things as before and they will have to share their parents’ attention with their grandparents.

Kids may have to learn to be quieter during naptime or after the senior goes to bed.  They may find they are limited in bringing friends over.  It may also feel like they have more bosses in the house now and less say about what goes on.

The positive side for kids to have their grandparents living with them is that they can get to know them better and learn more about their history.  It will also give them an appreciation for seniors and an understanding of the aging process.

How to make it Work

This unique living situation can work out for all parties involved with organization and consideration for each person.  Here are a few tips:

  • Have regular family meetings where everyone can speak about what is working and what they would like to see changed. This is the time to discuss schedules and future meetings or appointments.
  • Schedule alone time for each adult family member and time for the parents to spend alone with the children.  This would be a good time to hire homecare for the senior so that they are not left alone while the rest of the family does an activity.

Carefect Homecare Services provides services such as personal care for seniors as well as respite care to relieve family members.  Our caregivers can give your family a break and ensure that the senior is cared for.  We can assist with many tasks to take some of the stress and responsibility from family members so that they can enjoy the benefits of living with their senior parent.