It seems that assisted living and other residential care facilities are becoming a last resort as more families turn to at-home alternatives. There’s the MEDCottage (also known as granny pods), a small, free-standing unit that is connected to the main home, allowing the senior resident to have privacy and autonomy with easy access to family caregivers.
Now, according to this recent New York Times article, there’s also this new norm for modern multigenerational families: a floor plan that includes space for an older relative who either currently or will eventually need care.
This type of housing, where a “mother-in-law” suite with a private, discrete entrance is integrated into the floor plan, affords sandwich generation caregivers an ideal arrangement: their children and the relative who needs assistance are all under one roof. But the benefits of this streamlined living arrangement are not only for the caregiver.
Seniors can develop a relationship with their young family members, whom they may otherwise have only seen on holidays and special occasions. The children, teens and young adults of the home learn to respect, admire and adore their older relatives, and become more comfortable with quality of life/caregiving-related issues. They may also be able to pitch in on certain caregiving tasks. (Read “Don’t Be Afraid to Put the Kids to Work” for advice on how they can help.)
If you can afford the new home or the renovations required to accommodate an elder (an expense that may be minimal when compared to the cost of long-term care and the immeasurable benefits of intergenerational interaction), it can truly be win-win for all involved.