It’s a fact that multi-generational families are on the up in Australia. There are a considerable number of factors that have contributed to this rise in multi-generational families, with the main one being financial reasons.
The new book “Living Together: the rise of multi-generational households in Australian Cities” saw 55% of participants claim that finances were the primary reason for the decision to live together.
Multi-generational families may include children, young adults, elderly and everyone in between. Young adults are still living in the parental home whilst they save up for a deposit for their own place.
Other common arrangements include the older generation living with their children. This can allow young parents to get access to family help in raising children, whilst ensuring that they have a safe housing arrangement for ageing parents.
Whatever the reason for the arrangement, there are always going to be certain design features that need looking at – these can be a big help to a multi-generational household. Let’s take a look at the top four below.
1) Size of The Land
If you’re considering keeping your elders close, you might be thinking about building a granny flat. A detached granny flat will take up a lot of space, even if you’re always dreamed of cramming your step-mother into a cardboard box.
Think about the logistics of the space that you’ve got, and whether there’s access to materials that can be delivered and constructed on site. Is there enough parking space if you’re going to add an annex?
2) Flexibility of Space
Having a retreat for parents may be a distant dream in the future, where their kids have flown the nest and they’ve got their space back again. Having the additional space on the land parcel back, can offer flexibility when the children are older however.
Make sure you look at houses where you have a suite of rooms separate from the main living areas for example. Sometimes having a touch of extra distance can be all you need to give a little bit more privacy to everyone.
Once the birds have flown the nest, you can always convert their nests into a home office or games room.
3) Multiple Kitchens And Bathrooms
it may be the case that you can all happily coexist in one big main living area. The only problem with living in a multi-generational property, is that these areas can become congested quickly during peak hours.
Kitchens will become super busy at meal times, and bathrooms may get overwhelmed during the morning and evening, when people are leaving for, or returning from work.
Make sure that you look for houses that have multiple kitchens and bathrooms, so that you can avoid congestion during these busy periods of the day. It’ll also help to keep everyone on each other’s good sides – avoiding family conflicts and such like.
According to the recent book survey discussed above, the second most common reason for living with the extended family, is to provide support and care to ageing relatives. If this is a real concern for you, you’ll want to look for a house that is accessible for people with mobility issues.
Parents might be independent right now, but who knows how ageing will strike them, so you’ll want to be prepared for every possibility. Ensure that entrances are accessible by wheelchair, and that bedrooms and bathrooms for the parents are located on the ground floor.