web analytics
November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Making the Multi-Generational Household Work


As Rabbi Meyer Waxman discusses elsewhere in this issue, more elderly parents are being forced, by circumstances, to move in with their adult children, as are more young adults who find themselves compelled to move back into their parents’ home. More adults have become part of the sandwich generation, as members of the six million American households today that span three or even four generations.

More than 70 years ago, this living arrangement was not uncommon, and was even considered to be something of an American ideal. Think of the multi-generational household that was depicted so nostalgically in the classic TV series, “The Waltons.” But after World War II, multi-generational living fell out of favor. In 1940, about a quarter of the US population lived in such households, but by 1980, just 12% did. Not coincidentally, this period saw the rapid growth of nuclear-families living in suburban homes, and the creation of huge retirement communities in the Sunbelt states. At the same time, the proportion of newly arrived immigrants, who commonly adopt multi-generational living arrangements during the initial stage of their life in a new country, declined as a share of the total US population.

A necessity instead of a choice

Today, most families adopt multi-generational living arrangements out of necessity rather than choice. When elderly parents can no longer live safely alone, loving family members may be unwilling to entrust their care to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Young adult children find themselves with no choice but to move back into their parents’ home due to the breakup of a marriage or the loss of a job. Some young adults and their families move in with their parents voluntarily, because they prefer the conveniences that a properly structured multi-generation household can offer, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule.

Most multi-generational households are created on the fly in reaction to an unexpected crisis. In such cases, the head of the multi-generational household must face two fundamental questions. First, what changes must be made immediately to make the living arrangements for everyone as convenient as possible in the short term? Second, are they willing to make the permanent changes in their home and lifestyle that will be necessary to make the new living arrangements practical over a more extended period of time?

More simply put, it is one thing to put up your father-in-law on your living room couch for a few nights, or to ask one of your kids to double up with a sibling while grandma takes over their bedroom for a few weeks. But the natural friction from such extended, close interactions, under makeshift arrangements, will eventually start to wear on everyone.

No single formula for success

There is no set formula for making multi-generational households work, because no two situations are exactly alike. Sometimes the problems may be insurmountable. The head of the household and all of the family members involved need to go in with their eyes open and recognize that if the arrangement is to work, significant adjustments and compromises will be needed on all sides.

The first question to ask is often the most difficult – are the physical living arrangements available suitable to meet the minimum needs of everyone in the household? If not, what alternatives are available? How much time and money will it take to implement them? How will the household function before these solutions are in place?

For example, take the case of an elderly parent who can’t climb stairs, who had been living in an elevator apartment building in Florida, and who now needs to be brought back to New York to be taken care of by their adult child who lives in a walk-up apartment. To make such an arrangement feasible, the adult child may have to ask their parent to sell their Florida apartment in order to provide the down payment for a new home in New York that would be more suitable for the entire extended family. Alternatively, if the adult child owns their own home, they may have the option of refinancing their mortgage to pay for the construction of an extra bedroom or bathroom or other renovations (such as installing a wheelchair lift) needed to make the living arrangements more practical over the long term. Before making a final decision, the adult child should also consider whether the cost of the necessary alterations would ultimately be cheaper than placing their parent in a long term care facility.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Making the Multi-Generational Household Work”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.
Yehuda Glick’s Condition Stabilizing, “He Was Very Lucky” (1:00 PM)
Latest Sections Stories
Collecting-History-logo

Undoubtedly the greatest manifestation of his antipathy was his infamous declaration: “[Expletive] the Jews. They don’t vote for us anyway.”

West-Coast-logo

Chaplain Winkler along with the other OJCB chaplains work tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure that all of the Jewish prisoners religious needs are met.

Eller-103114-Busy-In-Brooklyn

“I work around the Jewish calendar, always trying to think of creative spins,” noted Chani.

“Without a high school diploma, you couldn’t work as a garbage collector in New York City; you couldn’t join the Air Force. Yet a quarter of our kids still walked out of high school and never came back.”
– Amanda Ridley

My mother-in-law is totally devoted to her daughters and their children. Her sons’ children on the other hand are treated like second-class citizens.

The Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews is designed to tell the whole thousand-year story of the Jews in Poland.

This past summer was a powerful one for the Jewish people. I will always remember where I was on June 12th when I found out that Gilad, Eyal and Naftali were kidnapped. I will always remember the look on my sister’s face on June 30th when she told me that they were found. I will […]

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

More Articles from Yaakov Kornreich

Today, millions of members of the baby boomer generation are being confronted with the new realities of aging in America. Many now reaching the traditional retirement age of 65 are still fit and vigorous and do not consider themselves to be old. Thanks to medical science, 60 has indeed become the new 40, and most can look forward to years — and perhaps decades! — more of life in relatively good health. Yet, many do not want to retire.

Between 1997 and 2008, the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) increased almost fourfold, according to the National Health Interview survey. The 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health indicated that 1.1 percent of all children born in this country are on the autism spectrum.

As Rabbi Meyer Waxman discusses elsewhere in this issue, more elderly parents are being forced, by circumstances, to move in with their adult children, as are more young adults who find themselves compelled to move back into their parents’ home. More adults have become part of the sandwich generation, as members of the six million American households today that span three or even four generations.

Fundamental and far-reaching changes are coming that will have a profound effect on every individual in New York State who receives services under the current system for caring for individuals with developmental disabilities.

The worldwide diabetes epidemic and its related precursor, obesity, are the fastest growing public health menaces of the 21st century.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/making-the-multi-generational-household-work/2012/08/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: