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Multi-Generational Living: Insights and Tips from an Expert

by Bridget Blonde

February 14, 2024

Several years ago my family embarked on the adventure of multi-generational living. It's been quite a journey, full of surprises, adjustments, and heartwarming moments. In the end, we are all happy that we made the, I want to share some of the things we learned along the way!

Be Ready for a Bit of Work: One of the first lessons we learned is that finding the perfect home for multi-generational living can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. It's very hard to find one that's exactly right from the start. So be prepared to have to make some improvements to the home you buy to make it work for your family. Your REALTOR® can recommend contractors. And remember to account for this in your budget.

Mutual Respect: Respect is the glue that holds our family together. Sooner or later people who live together will disagree or have different priorities. That’s normal. Treating each other with kindness and understanding goes a long way in resolving these differences.

Open Communication: Communication works like a bridge connecting all the different members of your household. The goal is for everyone's needs to be met. By keeping the lines of communication open, we can share our thoughts, feelings, and ideas more effectively. This will make your living situation smoother and more enjoyable for everyone. With fewer conflicts, your home will be less stressful.

Separate Entrances: Having separate entrances might seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in maintaining everyone's privacy and independence. Although the older generation might need help sometimes, they don’t need to lose their independence completely!

Completely Separate Living Spaces: Having separate living spaces allows each generation to have their own slice of home sweet home. It gives us the freedom to decorate, relax, and unwind in our own unique ways. We do our own cooking and cleaning and follow our own schedules. We only share big decisions (like the new furnace we just put in) and the laundry room. We respect each other's space and routines. No wild parties at midnight, and no pressure to eat dinner together every night.

Cozying Up the Basement Apartment: The basement—the unsung hero of multi-generational living! Here are some tips we used to make it cozy instead of damp, dark and chilly. Invest in flooring with good underlay for extra warmth and comfort. Consider adding plush carpeting or warm area rugs. We also have large, dug-out windows that maximize natural light and ensure a safe fire escape route.

Dual Sleeping Spaces in Granny Suite: Planning ahead is key and we didn't do it! By incorporating two sleeping spaces into your granny suite, you'll always be ready to accommodate family members or friends who need a place to stay. And, in the case of illness, it's nice to have an option for separate sleeping spaces too.

In conclusion, multi-generational living has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for my family. While it may come with its challenges, the rewards have far outweighed them for our family. My hope is that these lessons and tips will help get you well on your way to creating a harmonious home where every generation feels valued and cherished.


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