In the past year, aged care in Australia has been under intense scrutiny with the authorities reportedly closing one aged care centre per month due to poor standards. Meanwhile, real estate prices have been skyrocketing for a decade now; housing prices in Melbourne having risen 93.5% since 2009. Between inability to purchase separate housing and unwillingness to place their elderly parents in an aged care home, about 1.5 million Australians are said to belong to the ‘sandwich generation’ – middle-aged people both caring for their elderly parents and raising their children. Just a few years ago, in 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics counted 531,000 “other related persons’’ – including elderly parents and adult siblings – living together in family households and that number is only projected to rise.
Sharing your home with your relatives has quite a few advantages. Having your loved ones close by gives you some peace of mind and it means that all members of the family are looked after. Grandparents can babysit the kids, while adult children provide care for their parents. Multi generational homes also eliminate the need to hire babysitters or carers when you and your family are all there for each other.
There are also practical considerations such as splitting chores, making it easier to maintain your house and garden. Additionally, several adults living under the same roof means sharing bills and having several sources of income to rely on, which can be a life-saver, especially since, as of July 2018, the total value of owner-occupier home loans in Australia has reached $21.2 billion.
However, there are some drawbacks to multi generational homes. Lack of privacy and space can spark conflicts, making your house feel more like a place to escape than a place to return to. More people sharing the same space also means things will get broken more often. While upkeep is easier with several adults in one household, constantly having to repair something can definitely chip away at your nerves. Meanwhile, the ‘sandwich generation’ are already under extensive stress, juggling pressure at work with taking care of their parents and children, struggling to find any time (or space) for themselves.
Research and statistics
There’ve been quite a few researches into how your housing situation is impacting your health. Australian Institute of Family Studies concludes that everything from poor quality construction materials and crowded living arrangements to a subjective feeling of ‘home’ can have an effect on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Interestingly enough, the data also shows that people who live with their families in multi generational homes are happier than those who live alone, especially in later stages of life when one of the spouses in a traditional nuclear family is usually left on their own.
Finding the right balance
How do we find the right balance between keeping our loved ones close and maintaining our own inner peace, keeping up with our hobbies and finding a safe haven from the pressures we feel at work?
That’s where MultiGen comes in.
MultiGen new homes, single storey extensions and second storey additions are not just bigger or more comfortable – they are custom-built with the interest of your family in mind, creating space for each family member, accommodating to their current and future needs. Clever usage of additional space provides new opportunities for work and leisure, spending time with your loved ones and having your own personal space. As a nice bonus, MultiGen can increase the value of your property and it can become a profitable investment: as your children grow up and move out to go to college, multi generational homes can be rented out as an extra source of income.
Features to consider for your multi generational homes extension:
A kitchenette and an extra living room or alfresco area
When you have a big family, it can be difficult to spend quality time with its individual members, let alone invite your friends over for dinner or have a neighbour stop by for a drink. Even something as simple as watching TV together can sometimes become a logistical nightmare. That’s why it’s best to have several areas where you can gather together for a fun party or a quiet cup of tea with your elderly parent.
Now here is a room that can be your very own paradise island of peace amidst any of the world’s storms. Modern design solutions and custom-made furniture mean that a study can take up very little space and still be exactly what you need when you are working from home, want to spend some time on your hobbies or are just looking for some quiet.
If your morning routine ever becomes a race to call first dibs on the shower, it is a clear sign that your house needs more bathrooms. En-suite options allow your bathroom to be as private and personal as you want it to be, while less stress and haste in the mornings can make your entire day much better.
A separate entrance
Outside of sheer convenience, a separate entrance can become an important plus should you ever decide to rent out your house extension.
Multi generational homes are becoming more and more popular changing trends in Australian architecture and the way people plan their future. Analysts draw connections with housing pricing, retirement age and life expectancy, but the families themselves say that companionship is the reason they decide to share a home. A family that sticks together, stays together – this wise old saying is as true now as it had ever been. And now, as technologies and new design ideas advance, we can stick together without compromising our comfort. With the help of professional architects, designers and builders, you can transform your house into a better home for a happier family.