Multi-generational living, otherwise known as “multi-gen,” has grown in popularity in recent years. While typically consisting of baby boomers living with elderly parents and grandparents to assist with their care, multi-gen living has now expanded. The “boomerang generation” – adults ages 25 to 34 – are among the most likely to be living in multi-generational households. There are many benefits that come with living in this type of household. It is important to know what features your home needs in order to make multi-generational living beneficial for everyone. If you looking for a home that will accommodate your multi-gen family, here are the top features that are considered most important for your home.
Will you be living with your elderly parents? If so, think about what features your multi-gen home should have to ensure that they have privacy and space. A young adult returning home from college might not mind coming back to their old bedroom. However, for the older generations, it’s better to opt for a floor plan that comes with an “in-law”-style suite. This self-contained suite often comes with its own separate entrance, living room, bedroom, full bath and kitchenettes. It is usually on the first floor with close access to shared areas of the home. Another option is to select a home that has second master suite, preferably on the first floor, which gives the older generation easier access to shared areas in the home, but also allows them to have more privacy and separation when they need it.
Open Access to Shared Spaces
Accessibility is one of the most important things to consider when selecting a multi-gen home. According to the universal design guidelines written by the National Association of Home Builders, an accessible multi-gen home should have wide doorways and hallways, and extra floor space to make it easy for everyone and everything to move more easily from room to room. They also recommend having shared spaces, such as living rooms, kitchens and laundry rooms on one level of the home which is completely barrier free. It is also best to have bedrooms and bathrooms on the same level as the shared spaces in order to make them more accessible to the older generation and to people with disabilities.
A multi-generational home needs to be adaptable to satisfy the many needs of all the people living in the home. Many people not only live in their homes, but also work and entertain in them, too. Convert an empty bedroom into a multi-purpose working space. Two empty bedrooms with a shared bathroom could be converted to an additional suite with one of the bedrooms as an alternate sitting room. This adjustment can be made to the home you currently live in to accommodate either the older or younger generation. As you plan your multi-gen home, pay careful attention to each space and think of the different ways each space might be adapted to fit the needs of your family.
Opportunities for Privacy
The key to making everyone in a multi-generational home feel comfortable is by ensuring that everyone has their space and privacy needs met. Sure, they might already have their own bedrooms to go to, but that can get boring. Set up designated spaces for different generations in shared living areas. That way, they don’t always have to go to their bedrooms to get some space. In a large open area like the living room, furniture, storage and shelving areas can be used to separate and differentiate the space for older and younger adults and children. Versatile living areas with the right amenities can go a long way to keeping harmony among the generations.
Room to Grow
When looking for a multi-gen home, it is important to think about how your family might change through the years. Consider getting a home with an unfinished area, such as an attic, space over the garage or a basement. It will give you the room to add an extra bedroom, living room or playroom. Your family can grow into these spaces and configure them as the need arises.