Greetings. Aging is a fact of life. We can’t stop it. As Boomers age, so do our parents, and multi-generational households are becoming more common.
What is a Multi-Generational Household?
A generally accepted definition is two or more generations of related adults living under the same roof.
Multi-generational housing has been part of my family most of my life. When I was 8, we moved in with my mother’s parents to help them through the end of life of my grandfather. After he passed, my grandmother moved in with us. When my aunt divorced, my grandmother moved in with her and her 4 children to help out until my Aunt remarried. Years later, my grandmother moved back in with my aunt where she resided until almost the end of her long life.
When my father’s dad was in his end of life, they moved in with my parents. When my grandmother started needing assistance, she moved from Oregon to Nevada to live with my parents. She remarried and moved out with her new husband. When he passed and later, she could no longer live on her own, she moved back in with my parents, where she remained almost until the end of her life.
My sister and husband have shared housing with their son and his family until just recently for economic reasons. After moving to Nevada, my adult children have come and gone from the extra bedroom multiple times. We as a family take care of each other in times of need.
Multi-Generational Households, the Statistics
In April, 2018, the Pew Research Center (Pew) published a study on multi-generational households in the United States, 1950 through 2016. In 1950, 21% (approximately 32 million people) lived in a multi-generational household.
According to the study, the percentage made a continual downturn until 1980 when only 12% of the population lived in a multi-generational household. By 2016, a continual upward trend shows that 20% (64 million people) lived with multi-generations in the same household. Economics (such as the “Great Recession” of 2007) and an aging population have contributed to this increase.
According to a fact sheet published by the Population Reference Bureau in 2016, the number of elderly adults (age 65 and over) is projected to increase to 98 million people by 2060. Meanwhile, we as boomers are working longer. A 2014 Gallup Poll, outlined how long we as boomers expect to work. According to the poll, 39% of boomers expect to retire after the age of 66, while 10% of us do not expect to retire.
In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of of our parents 75 and older at over 20 million. With so many of boomers working later in life, our parents living longer, and economics keeping our children home, we are caught in the middle.
The Cost of Elder Care
The cost of assisted living and round the clock nursing facilities are becoming out of reach for many families. According to Genworth.com, the median cost for assisted living in 2018 is $4,000 per month ($48,000 per year). For those in full nursing care facilities, the number jumps to $7,441 monthly ($89,292 per year) for a semi private room to $8,365 monthly ($100,380 yearly) for a private room. Moving in with your elderly parents or having them move in with you is becoming an economic necessity.
With the very real threats for future funding of social security and Medicare, the idea of families living together will become more important as we age and as our parents age. The cost of aging population is falling to the families. Reimbursement or payment for in home care generally falls to State programs and not many of the States offer reprieve for families stepping up and caring for our elderly.
I strongly suggest you look into your local senior center for assistance. Some offer adult day care, exercise programs, lunch programs, and training for caretakers. Also, go to your State website and see what programs are available for assistance.
Hopefully, this article provides enough information to start thinking about “what if?”
Links for Further Information
I want to hear from you. Are you a caretaker? What resources have you found?