Tag Archive | "adult children living with parents"

A Joint Venture?

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Multi-Generational Living

Many cultures across the globe encourage and successfully manage co-existence of several generations under one roof.  The Amish, for example, embrace this type of life.  Tightly knit, hard-working Amish leave no family member’s well-being to chance.  The elderly, for instance, are not relegated to nursing homes, but remain within the family domicile or in a safe, serviceable dwelling nearby.  While the United States has not, traditionally, been a society to practice multi-generational living, the economic squeeze is making converts or at least long-suffering bearers of some of us.   For many, the adjustments are huge, carrying with them the hazards of grinding teeth, fraying nerves, and flaring tempers, not to mention detonating relationships.  Kaboom!


Bowing to Robert Frost’s rule of “Good fences, good neighbors make,” some families opt to divide themselves among duplex apartments or “mother-daughter” homes.  But, those forced to share the same space don’t enjoy the same modicum of autonomy or privacy.  Actually, there are advantages as well as disadvantages to living under the same roof as your children, parents, grandparents, and in-laws.


The Perks


With youngsters in your household, an extra babysitter is always welcome, often with relief!


As “Many hands make light work,” errands and chores can be divided among the household so that no single individual is put upon to cook, shop, chauffeur the kids to school and soccer meets, and deal with the laundry and housecleaning.


Pooling of finances is perhaps the greatest asset to communal family living. Combining resources under one roof can elevate the quality of life and even facilitate the goal of saving money in these penny pinching times!


If you are not comfortable living alone, this could be an ideal living arrangement for you.  It’s nice to have some companionship to alleviate your fears, just knowing that someone else is around.  This is particularly true if you are a senior citizen or other family member with a medical condition.  Someone else will always be there for you, in case of an emergency.


Those of us with aging parents under our roofs can enjoy more quality time with our elders and less time spent in harried pursuit of errands and doctors’ appointments necessitated by separate addresses. 


The Inconveniences


The more people cohabitating, the greater the chances for personality conflicts.  If you are a quiet individual who enjoys curling up with a good book, movie, or sewing project, a housemate who blares loud music and parties on a regular basis will not amuse you.


Meal times can be a real juggling act in terms of coordinating times and accommodating menus.  Older folks may have special dietary concerns.


With more family members involved, it can be difficult to establish emotional boundaries, especially for authority figures. Children will be children, pitting parents against grandparents to get what they want.  Married couples may have a hard time with in-laws, as adults are children also and all want to have their way!  Tension can mount quickly; you may feel as if you have lost your independence if you are still living under your parents’ roof.


Remodeling may have to be done to accommodate the older generation. Ramps and chairlifts for wheelchair bound parents, safety rails in the bathroom, and wall-to-wall carpeting instead of area rugs will ensure the safety of your loved ones, as well as make a dent in your budget.


Bathrooms could become war zones.  Felix Unger types will always rail and nitpick at their Oscar Madison counterparts.


Pets could easily become an issue.  A cat lover may be forced to love dogs and vice versa.  And for those families that blend never-before-introduced felines and canines, the fur may literally fly!


One of the most important issues is, of course, privacy.  Under one roof, nothing will be private.  And if it is, it won’t remain that way for very long.


So, before you choose this route, think long and hard about its demands.  If you are not a very patient or adaptable person, you stand to lose a loving relationship.  Then again, if that relationship is with a pesky in-law, it might just be a blessing in disguise!

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