CANADIANS ARE LIVING LONGER — a fact we should all be celebrating! However, living a quality lifestyle into our 80s and 90s requires some discussion and planning. According to Statistics Canada, approximately 27 per cent of Canadians aged 45 to 64 years have children under 25 still living at home. At the same time, they may also be responsible for a parent or two. Often referred to as the Sandwich Generation, in mid-life this cohort may reach a stage where there are multiple generations living under one roof.
The average two-storey, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house is comfortable enough for parents raising two or three children. There’s room to afford every family member their respective privacy and space. But few homes are designed to accommodate three generations. Deﬁning the needs of your extended family and how to meet them can be a challenge.
It is most likely that grown children will move into their own place, either rented or purchased, once they ﬁnd steady employment. Until this occurs, many of the 50-plus age group will choose to remain in the home where they raised their family. However, if you are planning on mov-ing to accommodate a parent as well, then their age, cul-tural expectations, health and ﬁnancial stability will need to be considered when making the decision.
If your parents live independently and wish to remain so, then encouraging them to move closer, as opposed to with you, may be a good option for all concerned. Change can be more difficult as we age, but if independence is not threatened then the notion of living near children and grandchildren can be very appealing.
For adult children who prefer to have parents move in with them, you need to address these questions:
• Does your present home have enough living space to comfortably accommodate an extra person or two, with the 20-something children still home for a period? Or will you have to move in order to accommodate everyone?
• Is it necessary to add an extra bathroom, or have one modiﬁed for accessibility?
• Do your parents have the ability to move safely from ﬂoor to ﬂoor or room to room?
• Will an outside entrance need a ramp?
Discussing your family’s needs and costs with a professional before committing to renovations or putting your house up for sale will not only save you time and money but unnecessary stress.
Many new home builders, Geranium included, have responded to buyer requests for ﬂoor plans with two master suites – one located on the main ﬂoor – to accommodate three generations under one roof. Be sure to explore the possibilities in your chosen neighbourhood.
If a parent requires daily assistance or medical supervision but still prefers to live independently, then you’ll want to investigate the various private and government-assisted living options located close to your home.
We are fortunate to have a wide variety of housing options in so many communities. It’s just a matter of deciding what best ﬁts your family’s needs.