With sharply rising costs of living and worries about inflation and an impending recession, it can be difficult for younger people to afford rent, food, and transportation while still in school or working an entry-level job. Older adults may also face tightening budgets and could use a little help around the home as well as companionship.
It’s no surprise to learn that following the pandemic when many young people left cities and high rents, more intergenerational households emerged, and continue to exist. For many young adults, it’s not their parent’s but rather their grandparent’s home, with a spare room or two, that has become a safe and affordable space from which to launch.
According to a recent New York Times report, grandparents are often able to provide help to their adult grandchildren in ways that are elusive in the parent/child relationship. Nearly a third of young American adults between 18 and 25 live at home with their parents or other relatives, and more grown children are living with grandparents. These “skipped generation” households can be less emotionally charged than living situations involving adults kids and their parents who can’t help parenting, even when it’s no longer welcome.
Grandparents may need some time to adjust to an adult grandchild living under their roof, but in many situations, the arrangement is mutually beneficial. Young adults may get free or reduced rent, and grandparents who have reduced mobility or live alone benefit from a little help, and the opportunity to learn about a younger generation. On-site tech help can be exchanged for cooking lessons, and grandparents with years of experience can help grandchildren navigate uncertain and challenging times.
Because housing costs are high, especially in large cities, and most older adults wish to age in place as long as possible, intergenerational living arrangements are likely to become more common with a rapidly aging population and greater longevity. Even after adult grandchildren do eventually move out on their own, the time spent with their grandparents as housemates helps create a closer and more meaningful relationship. There is much the different generations can learn from one another, and support they can provide.
Learn more about the growing trend of multigenerational households by following this link to the Pew Research Center website.