Caregiving in Generational Households

On the news today, I heard of a family who consolidated their living to take care of each other. What an amazing thing to do. Can you just imagine the support available? Many cultures have maintained this practice for years. I thought about what lessons can we learn from generational household living. I could think of a zillion, but I won’t bore you with all of them. But, I would ask you to think about the advantages and of course, there would be disadvantages. Many of the disadvantages would come from financial pooling, privacy, and space; who is a tighty and who is not; who can cook and who cannot. Who would be responsible for chores, transportation, grocery shopping, yard work, and the overall maintenance of the generational living space? Then, there are eldercare and childcare responsibilities, in that order.

When I think about my caregiving experience, I recall saying to my mother, “ Mommy, you are 92 years older than Brannon.” When I made that comment, it was words. When I really thought about those words, it became a blessing to witness the generational gap and the generational togetherness. There were days that mommy would feed the baby, and rock him to sleep, while I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, sissy changing bed linen, and hubby doing yard work and car maintenance. Things are different now, since mommy’s passing, but those were the days. The scenario may come around again, who knows. The reality is, that generational living can be a safe haven and a blessing, with communication, conversation, and compromise.

In the humanity of caregiving, there is plenty of room for participation, protection, and an opportunity to play a role in caregiving. The lessons best learned are the ones that are shown before us.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, let me share that generational household living could be an outstanding way to teach our young, our youth, our young adults, and yes, “help” the sandwich generation in caregiving. Seeing something in action is always the best teacher. Be safe! Be well!

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