Multigenerational families are described as families with more than one generation of adults sharing a household.
This is a growing phenomenon worldwide, with Stats SA stating that 32,2% of South African households are multigenerational.
In South Africa, multigenerational living can be attributed to rising costs of living, unemployment, security, needing a support structure, as well as cultural customs.
Finding a house for your multigenerational family often means having to consider multiple perspectives and needs in order to accommodate everyone.
This can be particularly challenging since people from different generations have different needs as well as different tastes.
Here’s how to make the process simpler:
1. Have a family meeting
Before looking for a new family home, consider having a family meeting.
A family meeting will allow everyone to voice their opinions and concerns. Knowing what each member of the family values in a living space will make the task of finding a suitable home that much easier.
2. Write down a list of things you’re not willing to compromise on
What aspects of a home are necessary for your multigenerational family to live happily?
Think about whether your elderly parents need an accessible space to navigate. You may have to make modifications to your new home such as adding stair rails, non-slip strips or an automatic stair lift.
If a member of your family is disabled, you will have to factor in modifications as well. Considering if the house you’re moving to would accommodate a wheelchair is important. If you have any young children, childproofing your home to make it safe for the little ones is important too.
These are examples of factors that shouldn’t be compromised and you should also factor in the cost of this.
Perhaps the price and location of the home is also important; choosing a home that is close to amenities like hospitals, schools and shopping centres is ideal for a multigenerational family.
3. Discuss how finances and chores will be split
Finances are arguably the most important aspect of moving house.
Moving with your multigenerational family means figuring out how the finances will be split.
Who will pay the new bond or rent, buy the groceries and pay utilities? These questions should be answered prior to proceeding with the move.
The last thing you need is a family dispute over financial matters. Iron out the basics and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
4. Find an estate agent
Now that you know what you’re looking for in a home, find an estate agent who will help you locate your ideal living space.
For a multigenerational home, it is recommended that you choose a home with a versatile design. Homes with multifunctional spaces can allow you to easily turn a room into a nursery, a study or a storage space.
Although you can customise certain parts of a home, you should make sure that the house you go for meets the majority of your requirements. Most of the time, a house won’t meet all your expectations, but if it meets the majority of them, especially the most important needs, then you’re good to go.
5. Consider how you will arrange and decorate the space
Think about how you will divide the space so that everyone has their own privacy.
Consider giving the elderly members of your family bedrooms on the ground or main floor, so that they aren’t using the stairs constantly and can access the kitchen and living room easily. Maybe you have a young adult living with you who prefers their own privacy — this is where the benefit of having a cottage in the backyard comes in handy.
In terms of decorating, open layouts are ideal for multigenerational families and as stated before, multifunctional spaces will help your family use every inch of the living space in a convenient way.