The Importance of Separate Living Spaces For Multi-Generational Homes

multigenerational living

Today, more and more people are choosing multi-generational living, which is considered to be a household that has three or more generations living within or on the same property. This concept might sound great at first, why wouldn’t it? You get to spend more time with your family members–celebrating holidays and birthdays without travel plans–but without the right household setup, it can quickly become clear that there can be some drawbacks too. In this article, we’ll cover why it’s so important to have separate living spaces in multi-generational homes.

Families Living Together Are On The Rise

Multigenerational families living together are on the rise primarily due to financial issues, as shown in this 2022 Pew Research Center survey. The second largest reason for multigenerational living includes caregiving for an adult or child family member. Survey respondents also claim emotional benefits from the arrangement, stating that multigenerational living is primarily convenient and rewarding, though some people claimed their living arrangement was stressful.

multi-generational family together

Living in a multigenerational home allows children to go straight home from school or extracurricular activities to grandparents or other family members rather than needing to get picked up by parents or go to after-school care. This arrangement also encourages different generations to spend time with one another and strengthen their family bonds, as well as create new traditions with one another. And family members who have recently been laid off, or even recently retired, can take the time to establish their future plans. In the interim, they can help by cooking or driving older relatives and children to appointments and other places. Older adults can rely on their family members for shared transportation rather than having to rely on themselves or on public transportation.

Another thing to consider: social isolation among the elderly can lead to increased health risks, such as cognitive decline and a weakened immune system. So having elderly family members stay together under one roof can improve their neurological and physical health. While that sounds great, most people don’t want to share all of their living spaces with their parents or grandparents.

Creating separate living spaces gives elderly family members a sense of independence and privacy. They feel a sense of purpose in their ability to set and reach goals, as well as develop a sense of control over their own life.  This sense of independence can lead to a better relationship with their caregiver and family members as well.

The Benefits Of Multi-generational Living Spaces Without The Drawbacks

What if we told you that you can reap all the benefits of multigenerational living… without the drawbacks? A grandma in Pickerington, Ohio needed to keep her sense of independence while living with her family.

Their house plan for multigenerational living included a separate “mother-in-law” suite with its own kitchenette and private entryway. The cherry on top is that her suite was designed with her wheelchair in mind, including wider doorways and a lowered vanity. Having her own separate suite allows everyone to have their own privacy after a long day.

Another one of our clients in Ashville, Ohio, lives in a multigenerational home, and they needed their dogs to live in separate spaces because the dogs don’t get along. The best remedy to all their problems was the implementation of separate living spaces.

How To Setup Separate Multi-Generational Living Spaces

There are multiple ways to create multi-generational living spaces based on your existing home. For families who are living in a multi-story home, you can dedicate the first floor to older family members as stairs can act as obstacles. Furthermore, adding an ensuite bathroom to first-floor bedrooms can add value to the home while accommodating older family members. Homes with unused basements can convert their basement into an in-law suite to maintain privacy between family members. If there are any unused guest bedrooms or flex spaces, they can also be repurposed into ensuite bedrooms. And it’s a great idea to create rules and boundaries by defining communal areas in the home for everyone to congregate.

These floor plans all focus on creating separate living spaces for different family members. Depending on your house and the space you have available to work with, in-laws or elderly family members can have their own floor, suite, or bedroom. This can also include separate entryways or kitchenettes so different family members can have their own independence. That means no fighting over who uses the bathroom. And well, we know what they say about having too many cooks in the kitchen.

Flexible living spaces remain paramount when considering multigenerational house plans. Being open to changing a room’s purpose to suit changing needs can be helpful and more cost-effective when considering multigenerational living. For example, adding grab bars and changing floor tiles in the bathroom to accommodate elderly family members. Or opening doorways and widening stairway landings to make family members feel more at home. We anticipate flexible living spaces will only grow in popularity in the years to come. Regardless of what avenue you choose, Heitmeyer Building & Design is here to help.

Ready To Transition Your Space?

If you’re thinking about transitioning to multi-generational living spaces for your family, and need home accommodations, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Heitmeyer team. As a tight-knit team, let our family take care of yours.

Heitmeyer Building & Design is a Construction company with over 100 years of experience in commercial construction and residential construction located in Pickerington, Ohio. 

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