The multigenerational family under one roof used to be standard. But over the years, the nuclear family has left and created its own home and often grandparents are scattered far and wide. Grandparents and other extended family members might still live in the original family home or have retired to another state. Other than holidays or summer vacation visits, families don’t get to see their parents and grandparents often. If a young family prefers urban living to have access to work and city amenities and grandparents are content in the suburbs, neither may consider moving to be closer. Fortunately, these younger parents are realizing the importance of having grandparents more involved in their children’s lives and are seeking solutions to the distance factor.
An article in the New York Times suggests that finding a living space for a grandparent in the city nearby is one viable answer to staying connected. Instead of subjecting parents to a pullout sofa bed and lack of privacy when visiting a smaller city apartment, couples are suggesting grandparents move to the city. A condo in the same building where good neighbors are important in the grandchildren’s lives would be ideal. Although the young mother interviewed said her mother isn’t really a city person, she hopes the proximity to her grandchildren and becoming a “part of our block family” will be enticing.
In a different twist from parents helping their children buy their first home, the article cites that a more affluent younger generation can buy a city apartment for their parents. A win-win – seniors get to be close to family and have the safety and amenities of a full-service, upscale living space. It’s also a solution for a parent considering moving to an assisted living facility. Having grown children close enough to ensure the parent(s) is doing well lessens concerns about living alone. Combining peace of mind with urban restaurants and grocery stores within walking distance makes an attractive alternative to a senior living community.
Grandparents as amenities to city living strengthens family bonds and offers a sensible solution to maintaining separate lives while still being connected.