The trend for an inter-generational living is rising. As living costs and care costs rise it makes sense for many to live with their parents, in-laws, or adult children.
Many families enjoy the financial freedom it brings, along with the added benefit of getting to spend more time together. Parents of young children enjoy having Gran and Grandad on hand to babysit and Gran and Grandad enjoy sharing the burden of looking after a house.
It makes sense.
But it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it can be a bit fraught at time.
If you are currently living with another generation, or are thinking of doing so, read our top tips for harmonious intergenerational living.
1) Set Guidelines
Before anyone moves in, set some time aside to sit down and thrash out some guidelines.
Setting boundaries before you take the plunge lets to check your values align, especially if you are thinking of living with in-laws and don’t know them as intimately as your spouse might.
It would be awful to move in together and then find out your father in law likes to play the Saxophone at 2 am, or your daughter in law doesn’t believe in putting the heating on.
Before you move in together, sit down and discuss your living habits, red lines, and areas you are going to compromise on.
Before you move in together it is also a good idea to discuss how the bills and housekeeping responsibilities will be divided.
Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to have their say about how they feel bills and responsibilities should be split.
A rota or checklist might sound fussy, but it will help everyone feel like are pulling their weight.
3) Respect Each Other’s Space
If you are dedicating a portion of the house to your parents, make sure everyone understands where the boundary is, especially if you have small children.
Respect the separate portions of the house as each other’s property. Don’t barge in without knocking, for example. Maybe allow your parents to decorate their own living quarters and bring their own furniture to make it feel like their own home.,
That way you won’t feel like you’re living on top of one another.
One way of avoiding this is to have a garden annexe. These are separate, stand-alone buildings that usually sit in the garden. Plumbed, glazed, heated, and fully kitted out, they usually have a fitted kitchen, bedroom, kitchen, dining area.
They give you each your own living space and freedom but still enable you to live together.
4) Have Time Apart
Even the closest families need time apart.
Much like respecting each other’s private living quarters, you should aim to spend time apart and respect those boundaries.
It might be that you designate Friday nights to having a movie night just you and the kids, or maybe you spend Saturday mornings reading the paper with your partner in bed.
However, you decide to do it, don’t feel like you have to spend every waking moment together.
Caring for someone is hard enough-you need your own space.
Living with your parent or in-laws can be extremely rewarding. You can help to care for them in their old age and they can spend precious time with the grandkids. Following these golden rules will make it a harmonious arrangement for years to come.