The latest extended recession has had consequences for people at every social and economic level. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, 47% of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older and are also either raising a young child or financially supporting a child aged 18 or older. The new term for this situation is the "Sandwich Generation"!
Houses built in the last 60 years were not typically built with more than two generations in mind. In the fairy-tale world of the 1950s and '60s, houses only needed to provide shelter for two parents and 2.5 children, with likely a cat and a dog thrown in for good measure.
Now, grown children often stay longer and may even move back home with their own children in tow. Elderly parents may also need a place in the home, either permanently or for extended visits.
Our homes need to be flexible to handle these changes. Oftentimes a little remodeling can go a long way to making everyone more comfortable in the same amount of space. Certainly Grandma can move into an extra bedroom but if she wants more privacy, an en suite bath and a small sitting area of her own can make her feel more at home - and give everyone else in the house a bit more privacy as well.
In Florida, homes often have a bath that connects to the pool and patio area. A remodeling plan might include using that bath and connecting it to two small bedrooms to create a mother-in-law suite or a semi-private studio apartment for a grown child.
Newer appliances could easily adapt a corner of the sitting area with a refrigerator drawer and a small convection-steam oven or a microwave for small meal preparation and snacks.
There can be many advantages to sharing your home with your parents, grown kids and grandkids - we can all learn from each other. Ease the over-crowded feelings with a bit of remodeling and everyone benefits.
And remember to add a wine bar for emergencies! :)