Multigenerational living is when a household has two or more adult generations living in it, such as grandparents, parents and children all under one roof. Also referred to as a three-generation household, this model of living has been long-established in southern European countries and certain parts of Asia where there is a strong culture around caring for your extended family.
So, is the UK beginning to follow suit with this model of living?
Is Multigenerational Living Growing in Popularity?
The Office for National Statistics predicts a 36% growth in persons aged 85+ above between 2015 and 2025, which could lead to more families adopting the idea of multigenerational living.
With the baby boomer population getting older and the new norm of adult children moving back in with their parents after university, it’s no surprise that it could be more common for three generations to be living together in a family home.
What’s more, growing work pressures and the incredibly high cost of childcare in the UK means that three-generation living is becoming a more attractive and affordable option for many families.
Is the UK Ready for This Model?
Professor Sarah Harper from the Oxford University Institute of Population Ageing has stated that our housing market is ‘not geared up’ for three generations under one roof as ‘the kind of housing we are building is hopeless for multigenerational living – small and box-like”.
So, the three-generation model of living may be difficult for those who can’t afford to make significant structural changes to their home. To tackle this problem, we have to go to the root cause – developers need to adapt their home designs and create additional living spaces to accommodate different generations; for example, ground floor suites with access for grandparents or loft conversions to give grown-up children some privacy.
What’s The Alternative?
Until the UK’s housing market is ready for multigenerational living, we continue to rely on care homes and a substantial increase in demand for these services has already been predicted.
However, these services have adapted and improved to make their residents feel more like they’re at home. Living in a care home doesn’t mean your loved ones are isolated from the community. For example Allied Fleet have a number of adapted vehicles for care homes; they’re perfect for any type of journey, whether it’s an essential medical appointment or a day out, with plenty of seats and wheelchair spaces on board.
Multigenerational living, already an established way of living in other parts of the world, could be the perfect answer to the predicted growth in elderly family members and the expensive cost of childcare. However, the UK’s housing market may not yet be prepared for this model of living and there still seems to be a strong demand for care home services to look after our aging loved ones.