With rising lifespans, decreased income as a result of the recession, and other factors, more and more American households now contain multiple generations of family members. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of American households with multigenerational members rose from 4.2 million to 5.1 million, according to data from the census. This rise in extended family living situations reverses the trend that had been going on since at least the 1960s.
Though many people find the idea of living with extended family members in the same household to be difficult, those living in such situations often find that it conveys significant benefits. Families with young children, for example, often express relief in knowing that their children will be cared for if the parents have to leave or cannot be present all the time.
For elderly family members, living with extended family can have significant benefits. Elderly people are often at risk for becoming victimized by financial scams or cons, especially when they do not have support or live in an isolated environment. Living with family members can provide a good safety net to protect against various forms of financial elder abuse.
Elderly people also gain significant health benefits from regular contact with others. Regular social interaction can help delay the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other significant medical problems. Also, families can save a lot of money when an elderly person chooses to live with children or grandchildren instead of transferring to a nursing care facility.