BLOG: Good reasons why we should be considering multi-generational households more seriously in Australia?

I can speak from personal experience here as family members and older friends struggle to find appropriate and affordable retirement living arrangements while their married children struggle with mortgage repayments for their homes, child-care costs and time, as well as the monetary cost spent traveling to and fro from outer suburbs. All this can bring much stress to family life.

Such ongoing challenges happens to most of us throughout our whole of life including: the cost and difficulty in finding suitable child care and aged care; cost of housing for young families; meeting mortgage repayments while juggling so many other expenses with a young family; difficulties in single parenting; times of economic hardship; unpredictable job security; housing adult children who are still students etc. Surely, we can do better to make life easier for our loved ones.

That is why I think we should seriously be considering multi-generational households in Australia that are purposefully planned and built with good separation for privacy and individuality. Take for example the larger homes on decent-sized blocks for a family that are available in the inner suburbs of our cities that would be ideal but, out of the price range of many young families – these could be jointly purchased with help from older parents who could co-habit. With some alterations or renovations, this could be a win-win situation for all – close to work, close to amenities for elderly members of the family, built-in helpers (reciprocal of course when needed!). It is a good time with aging baby-boomers and the lack of affordable housing for young families for designers and builders to offer “in-law spaces” in their plans that suit all kinds of families and their arrangements.
The new house pictured above is a fine example a flexible home design with good separation for family members. The older generation can co-inhabit the lower level with separate sitting room and a laundry/kitchen. On this level, they can go about their daily living without having to climb stairs. In this scenario, the two young children also have bedrooms on this level which makes it easy for grandparents to care for the children while mum and dad are at work. See more images and floorplan for this property which is for sale on Coupers Realty.

Jan Couper
M.Ed; M.Env.