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Léa Noémie Plourde-Archer
Léa Noémie
Plourde-Archer

(Author)

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Multigenerational Home

Last modified: 2017/11/28 | 4 mins

Are you thinking about getting closer to your family? It can’t be denied that times are tough on generations young and old. For those making their way out of university, the economy is a tough space to break into. For this reason, more and more families find themselves living underneath one roof.

This type of household is considered multi-generational, and while most may not typically embrace this living arrangement, there are some definite benefits to this style of life. Buying or setting up a multigenerational home could be the ideal solution you are looking for, however alongside the benefits are some downsides that we’d like to point out in a concrete examination of the pros and cons of multi-generational households! 

Mom reading with kids

Living in a multigenerational home

Living in an intergenerational home can come with several advantages. Among other things it can mean saving on mortgage loans as well as accommodation costs if one of the family members previously rented their home. If the parents are very old, it can save the cost of living in a nursing home.

There are many types of multigenerational homes. Oftentimes, in big cities, apartment building owners live in the same place as their kids, but each with their independent apartments. In the case of single-family homes, bear in mind that you will likely be sharing all common spaces. In some cases, maybe consider building a small addition over the garage, in the backyard, in the attic or even the basement, as long as space allows.

This way, although common spaces are shared, your bedroom could be a retreat from the regular areas of the household.  Both of these options are great ways to keep family members nearby while maintaining everyone’s privacy. However, do keep in mind that this option could be an expensive one, and may end up costing more than you can afford. 

Another situation that often happens is that someone will inherit a family home, without anyone necessarily dying. For example: the parents own a home that is too big for them whereas their children, who have been living in apartments since they left, now realize that they need more space.

With the idea that the house should stay within the family’s heritage, the parent could sell the home to their kids in order to earn some money so they can enjoy their retirement. They would continue to live in the house, while creating a separate section for more intimacy. 

Also to consider is the amount of space necessary for yourself and your family. If you have several children, make sure to think about the amount of space available in the home including the ratio of secluded space to common space and so on. 

Old man reading

Sharing the everyday life

Beyond economic considerations, the main objective of a multigenerational home is the fact that the family will enjoy more closeness. The members of the family will be present and there to help each other when needed. As mentioned, if all relationships with your family are fairly comfortable, then it could make perfect sense to live in a multigenerational home.

Especially during this digital age, living with older generations could be a necessary reminder that turning off and logging out are important practices to foster. Further, if you’re a young couple living with your parents and need a night to yourselves, you’ll have the option of leaving children with their grandparents for a night of babysitting. Deepening the relationships between children, parents and grandparents can add an element of love and support that you wouldn't have in a single-family home. 

This is even more beneficial for people that are suffering from a loss of autonomy, who suffer from physical constraints but are able to collaborate in other ways to the daily family life. The main aspect keeping people from wanting to live in a multigenerational home is the fear of lacking privacy.

However, what people may not realize is that these homes are usually made especially so that everyone has their own living space. We often see separate entrances and balconies that are independent one from the other. This allows the people to be close whilst maintaining their own private lives.

The practical questions about living with several family members

Living in a community comes with a whole set of challenges. In order to keep things running smoothly between all members of the family, certain rules have to be established. Early on, everyone should get together to participate in a conversation where certain potentially taboo subjects would be covered: money, sharing daily tasks, noise, freedom to move around from one part of the house to another, and so on.

In doing so, these subjects are less likely to turn into daily conflicts. Further, consider all personal relationships in relation to this living arrangement. Do your parents get along with one another? Are yourself and your spouse on good terms? This may seem like an obvious question, but it is one that needs to be carefully considered before making this decision. 

Potential government subsidies for multigenerational homes

Check with your local governments (municipal, provincial and federal) to see if any subsidies and tax credits could be useful to turn your house into a multigenerational home or to renovate the one you already have. Certain credits may also be available for adult children taking care of their parents as caregivers. 

Get 3 quotes for your multigenerational home renovation project

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