Living with the folks or inlaws is a growing trend. According to Pew, a record 60.6 million Americans lived in multigenerational households in 2014 – that’s 19% of the population. This figure has increased almost 30% in just seven years. And the reasons behind this are numerous…financial pressures are forcing young adults to stay at home for longer, young parents are seeking cost-effective childcare from grandparents, and the elderly are increasingly likely to be diagnosed with chronic conditions that demand at-home care. Yet no matter the driving force or the makeup of the household, multigenerational homes make sense for many families and offer incredible natural health benefits, both mental and physical.
A place to grow in confidence
The boom in multigenerational households is largely due to adult children living with mom and dad. In fact, for the first time in 130 years, living with parents is more popular than any other living arrangement amongst 18-34 year olds. And why shouldn’t this be the case? Many people aren’t necessarily ready for the demands of adult life when they reach the age of 21. Staying at home can provide an additional learning experience – giving individuals a taste of independence without the stress of isolation; and it can also provide valuable financial security. All in all, living with parents can give a sound and secure foundation to support the maturation of a young adult and enhance their mental well-being.
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Many multigenerational homes have three generations, typically comprising one or more working parents, their children and elderly parents. Whilst such situations have often arisen due to financial savings, they can enhance physical and emotional health for all parties involved. Grandparents are said to benefit from the physical demands of childcare which help them to keep active and feel young. And what’s more, research has shown that grandparents play a vital role in children’s well-being. A study by Oxford University shows that children with a high level of grandparental involvement have fewer emotional and behavioral problems.
Take away the loneliness
In many cases, an elderly parent may join a family household as they require care. This should involve some alterations to the house and retrofitting of features to ensure senior safety. This can help minimize accidents and promote independence – a huge boost to physical health. And bringing an elderly parent into the home can also bring many emotional benefits: carers spend more time with their loved one and have peace of mind knowing they’re not alone. Indeed, loneliness is a common and emotionally upsetting situation for many elderly Americans. 43 percent of seniors are said to feel lonely on a regular basis. Living in a multigenerational home helps to remove feelings of loneliness which can pose a risk to mental health.
Home is where the heart is
Whilst financial need has been a driving force for many multigenerational households, there’s no doubt that this trend is a positive move for communities across America. Independence is no longer the key to success in life; instead, interdependence and growing family bonds are proving to create healthy, emotionally secure and happy families.