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Tips for a successful three-generation home

  • December 03, 2013

Tips for a successful three-generation home

One side effect of the recession is that many seniors are forced to move in with their grown children's families. In 2010, 4.4 million U.S. homes housed three generations or more, up 15 percent from 2008, according to CNN. In light of the economic climate, many retirees are finding this a good way to cut on expenses. Of course, having your parents or in-laws move in with you and your family isn't always easy.

There are some tactics, however, to change this from a potentially anxiety-ridden scenario into a comfortable one.

Open dialogue
Although it sometimes feels easier to leave things unsaid, vocalizing your expectations and feelings can help avoid misunderstandings. Broach the subject positively, and make sure you express yourself clearly. Also, make it as two-sided as possible - ask for their opinions and take their suggestions gracefully.

Setting a regular time - whether weekly or monthly - can help remove some of the stress from the discussions. Make it feel like a chance to check in and evaluate how things are going.

Capitalize on the babysitting
If you have kids, having your in-laws or parents move in could be a welcome gift. They are no doubt anxious to spend time with your children, so use their presence as an opportunity to get some alone time for you and your spouse. Plan a night each week where they can watch the kids while the two of you have a date.

Smooth transition
To ensure that the situation gets off on the right foot, it's wise to make the moving process as painless as possible. They likely have decades of accumulated belongings, so hiring a household moving company to help could make things easier. Furthermore, using a long distance moving and storage service can help you keep everything organized as well as integrate the additional belongings into your home.

Appreciate them
Although it may feel difficult in the moment, your parents or in-laws likely have some hard-earned wisdom for you to soak up. Being mindful of this fact will help you appreciate the advice they give you - whether it's about raising children or handling the pressures of a job.

Cooking duties
In addition to babysitting duties, this situation could also help in terms of another time-consuming household task: cooking. Sharing kitchen responsibilities can save you time on busy days, increase meal variety and even offer you some new recipes and techniques.

Although you might not have planned becoming a three-generation household, by taking the right steps you can make the best out of the situation.


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