I couldn’t wait to leave home. The minute I turned 18, I didn’t just wave the folks goodbye – I moved across oceans.
Now in my mid-30s and embarking on creating my own family unit, I’ve suddenly found myself wishing it all back.
I am craving another opportunity to simply sit, listen and learn from the two humans I have so earnestly tried not to emulate for the past 35 years.
Is this sudden quest to reunite with mum and dad a way to save some dough? Or is nostalgia finally setting in?
It’s not just me, either.
Today, the lack of affordable housing has seen multigenerational living become an increasingly popular way to live.
If saving a few Ringgit for your dream home is at the top of mind, here are just a few of the pros of living with the folks:
• Multi-generational living provides older generations the chance to feel like they still play an important role in the broader family unit. This sense of worth and value is priceless.
• It is a chance to repay your parents for all you put them through as you grew up – and all the food you ate.
• When kids are involved – and they aren’t for me yet – asking mum or dad to babysit seems so much more appealing than asking a stranger.
Multi-generational living also challenges the way we look at building new housing models.
With a few adjustments to a conventional floor plan, you can fast increase the ability to make a seemingly less-attractive living arrangement far more functional and appealing
If you are looking to build or find a site to share with mum and dad, here are a few tips to consider:
1. Find more than one space
Find a property that has more than one dwelling, or the ability to build a granny flat on the same site.
Both homes would ideally have private entrances and parking, with the potential to build a connection point between the two.
2. Plan for the future
If you are building from scratch, project a 10 to 20-year plan. Build for the future needs of your family, not just for now. If you really want to build something that’s future proof, think about what it might mean for your grandchildren, too
3. Keep it one level
Don’t build up. Make pathways wheelchair friendly: Thoroughfares should be at least 1m wide, even 1.2m if you’re feeling generous and have the space.
Minimise internal level changes and keep the build to one level if possible. If you are lucky enough to find a site with two separate dwellings, build in separate bathrooms, kitchenettes and living quarters with communal garden areas for both houses to enjoy.
SO HOW CAN WE MAKE IT WORK?
Sure, there’s a lot to consider with multi-gen living, but there has to be a better way to make this all work. So every generation can live harmoniously, lovingly and, above all, willingly together – without the sole motivator being to save for a mega deposit!
An anecdote: With both my grandparents long gone, I often think about all the tiny things they taught me. I know how to play a mean game of Canasta, skin a fatty chicken breast to perfection and knit a woollen scarf. Without summer holidays at their place all this would essentially be non-existent.
It makes me wonder what my own children will be losing out on if mum and dad aren’t in our backyard. Basically, the more I grow old, the more I want to go home.
There’s no place quite like it.