According to the new census data, there are currently four million American multigenerational households in the United States. Commonly there are two types of multigenerational families. One type of family structure consists of a grandparent or older relative taking on the responsibility of primary caregiver to children under the age of eighteen. The other type of family structure is a person with his/her own children being responsible for the care of his/her parent or older relative.
Multigenerational families face many problems; one common problem is housing. Many of these families find it difficult to find affordable housing that offers them the room they need. Some older relatives caring for children had little or no warning when they first began to care for the children, and many either don’t have the room or live in an elderly community, which most elderly communities do not allow children. Adults caring for an older relative find their home may not offer handicap features such as a handicap bathroom or other handicap features.
Other housing issues multigenerational families face are lack of storage space. Many multigenerational families find they need more storage space or just need more space in general because they have more people.
Which brings us to the next issue, which is privacy. Many family members in a multigenerational family desire a place to entertain friends or just be alone. Privacy is difficult when you have people from different times, different mind frames, and you have several people in a home that is not usually large.
Other issues within the home include handicap access and handicap features. If you have a multigenerational household, you usually have an elderly person, and they may need special bars in bathrooms, railings that are supportive, non-slip floors, etc.
In response to the growing number of multigenerational families and the issues they face, some homebuilders have begun to offer multigenerational configurations among their design options. These options include handicap features such as wheelchair accessible showers and bathrooms. Other options include homes with two master suites and homes with two master bathrooms. Many of these homes are priced between $ 200,000 and $ 500,000. Custom designed multigenerational homes have a price range of $ 400,000 to $ 600,000.
Housing issues are just one of the many issues multigenerational families face. Relative caregivers often find it difficult to obtain affordable legal assistance. They commonly need services to obtain custody or guardianship, to access public benefits and to access school enrollment and health insurance for the children. Many relative caregivers who are raising children informally without a parent there regularly, often have difficulty accessing medical care for these children because they lack the authority to consent to the child’s treatment. It is also difficult for these caregivers to add the children to their private health insurance policies.
Multigenerational families may also have health and mental health issues. Many times older adult caregivers feel overwhelmed with the stress of their own health issues along with stress of caring for young children, which can result in a variety of stress-related illnesses. Also, children may have emotional issues caused by the child’s transition to the relatives’ care. This can cause not only the child to have emotional issues but the caregiver as well. The best way to handle these types of issues is to formally adopt so that you have the rights to give medical care, and the obligation to give the right love, etc.
There are many factors that contribute to the number of multigenerational families. Some of these factors include:
• High housing costs
•High costs of living
• Recent immigrants moving into the United States
• Increasing number of grandparents or other relatives raising children due to death of a child’s parent or parents, child abuse or neglect, abandonment by a parent, incarceration, mental problems or family violence.
Multigenerational families are expected to increase and become more common. Experts predict that by the next census more children will be raised by older relatives, the number of four-generational households will become more common, and many people in their sixties will be caring for their eighty and ninety-year old parents because of longer life expectancy and the number of baby boomers reaching maturity.