Multigenerational families can come in a variety of sizes and combinations. My senior mom and I are a small "multigenerational family" always looking for ways to ensure we have plenty of aging in place options for my mom. At one point, right after my grand-twins were born with health issues, their family moved in with us. Then we were a BIG Roseville California "multigenerational family" of four generations. A "multigenerational family" could mean a grandchild and a grandparent…or a nephew and aunt…or a niece and great-aunt…or two friends of different generations who are helping care for one or for each other….and the list goes on.
When I lived in one home for 17 years, my kids had FOUR sets of "adopted grandparents" in the wonderful neighbors who lived there. And those sweet senior neighbors gained extra eyes and hands when they needed help along with tons of hugs from my kids and us. It was a great extended "family." Yesterday, we listened to a class on "thinking outside the box" at my Keller Williams real estate brokerage and boy, multigenerational caregiving and helping is such a great example of that, isn't it?
Of course, with those different extended family and caregiver scenarios come a variety of different needs in a home and yard. You might think "get a single-story home. That will solve the whole problem." But I looked at two single story homes today. One would not be very practical for a multigenerational family with an elderly relative. It was gorgeous. But it had a sunken living room. I know ME! I'm sure I'd manage to forget and trip on that at least once….maybe even once a month! I'd get busy, focus on my paperwork or sending a text, and whap. Most likely I'd just end up with a bit of an embarrassed smile. But if my senior mom lived there and forgot, which she easily could, she could end up in the hospital like a good friend of ours is right now. As much as I love the concept of sunken living rooms – they're really cute – I would probably not recommend them to boomers and seniors who want good aging in place options,especially with elderly relatives visiting or living with them.
The second house I looked at offered great possiblities for an extended family situation. It has been beautifully updated with a gorgeous, restful decor. One of the bathrooms has my favorite kind of shower for anyone and especially for elderly seniors – easy access and benches to sit on.
There are three bedrooms and a den that could easily be another good-sized bedroom with the addition of an armoir. More "thinking outside the box" that is quite handy for flexible living arrangements.
And there's a laundry room that should be able to handle whatever size washer and dryer you might have. Always a good thing for an extended family with lots of laundry. In our last home, we had to keep the laundry area's folding doors open all the time because the extra large washer was a bit too big for the space. On those occasions when all the grandkids were visiting or my senior mom was recuperating from a surgery, that big washing machine was worth its weight in gold. It definitely was great to have – even with the open door in the midst of the living room/dining room area. Still a laundry room with this kind of space would definitely be handy for oversized and much needed laundry appliances.
And, of course, I always give the back yard a good check out – if you have kids or grandkids, you really appreciate a nice play area like this one – with plenty of room for a nice big swing set.
These are some of the vital things I look for in a home for my own multigenerational family to provide us with plenty of aging in place options for my senior mom, as well as recommend to my real estate clients. How about you? Can you add anything to my list? We'd love to hear.