Fitting the whole family in - A guide to multi-generational living

Family ties: More and more families are choosing to create multi-generational homes. Make sure you take care of a few housekeeping rules first.
Family ties: More and more families are choosing to create multi-generational homes. Make sure you take care of a few housekeeping rules first.

An ageing population and increasing housing prices are changing the way we live in our homes. 

With places in aged care facilities at a premium and house prices moving out of reach of first home buyers - more and more families are choosing to create multi-generational homes. 

Children are living with their parents for longer while ageing parents are moving in with their middle aged children for additional care. 

This saves costs but poses challenges for homeowners. 

In some cases, homes will need to be modified to suit these additional needs. 

Features such as ramps, handrails and re-jigging of floorplans to allow for elderly parents to live on the bottom floor can mean major renovations. 

The inclusion of separate entryways and additional bathrooms for children living at home into their 20's and 30's are other changes that will become important as time goes on.

Introducing babies and small children into the mix demands another level of facilitation. 

Issues such as child proofing and creating quiet sleeping arrangements for babies can prove challenging when there are so many people to take into consideration.

If you are planning to create a multi-generational home, it's advised you participate in some planning discussions with your loved ones. 

These discussions should centre around the needs and wants of everyone in the house as well as a clarification of the financial expectations. 

Not only will you need to determine who contributes to the day to day living bills, but also the maintenance of the house. 

It should also be made clear who is responsible for contributing to the modifications to the home. 

Having a frank discussion before you begin will avoid misunderstandings and arguments later down the track. 

In some cases, elderly parents will be able to use some of the capital made on selling their family home to help modify the home of their children. 

Children living at home can also contribute a weekly payment in lieu of rent if they are working full time. This often works out cheaper than if they had their own place, saves them on a bond and helps them continue to save so they can eventually purchase their own property. 

Multi generational homes pose many challenges, but they also give everyone in the family an opportunity to live the way they want and save for their own goals.

All this while maintaining a close and loving relationship with family members. It’s also wonderful to be able to care for your loved ones as they age or help care for those just beginning their journey in life.