Multigenerational Homes That Fit Just Right as originally seen in The New York Times
I would imagine the case managers at our hospital suggest our elderly patients move in with younger family members–whether kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews– with almost every patient we have come through the doors over age 65-70. Many of these arrangements begin temporarily, but often times if the patients come back to us again, the arrangement has become permanent.
I think having multiple generations in one home is more common place here in the Hispanic culture than it is elsewhere. In fact, one of my coworkers moved herself and her husband in with her parents while they save money to build their own house. That was about a year ago. And surprise! They’re pregnant! I couldn’t imagine doing that personally. However, I will say that this cultural norm makes our jobs at the hospital so much easier. When we know our 90-some year old patient isn’t going to be living all alone, we breath much easier. And if that patients continues to need assistance, there’s almost always several people in the family willing to pitch in to build a patch work schedule to help out Granny: Everyone’s at home in the evenings. She gets dropped off at adult day care as everyone leaves for work. Then Angelica picks Granny up from day care at 2pm after her college classes let out and stays until Mario gets off work at 5pm. Then by 6pm, everyone else is home again too.
I think multigenerational households may be the wave of the future. Most people cannot afford to go to nursing homes when they can no longer fully care for themselves. Insurances and Medicare cover at most the first 30 days of a nursing home stay fully. After that period there is a co-pay and those add up quick. Also many people simply don’t want to live out their years in nursing homes or assisted living, like good ol’ Carl up top from the Disney movie, Up. Many families that have come through my hospital find it’s cheaper to either hire someone to stay at the home with Granny or to have one person completely quit working outside the home to stay with Granny. I don’t know anyone that’s done it yet, but I would also think it might make sense to have several of those Grannies be one location to where just 1 person would watch over 3-4 Grannies during the day, depending on each Granny’s needs of course. Then maybe each family could pitch in a worker a few days a week or pay day care fees. Because unless you’re on Medicaid, Granny won’t qualify for an adult day care. Which from what I hear of them, might be a good thing anyway.
I’ve also been seeing the “granny pod” pop up here and there too. Those may be a good idea as well.
Having regular interaction with people of different generations is very healthy too. I recall reading somewhere (although I don’t remember where to get a reference for you, sorry) that elderly people who regularly spent time with children were less likely to have dementia, depression. The kids benefit from the older generation’s wisdom and nurturing too… although that’s not scientific, that’s just personal experience.