The happy dance or the reverse boomerang | Coming of Age…Again

  • Friday, November 10, 2017 11:30am
  • Opinion
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Courtesy graphic

By Pat Tuton

Kirkland Senior Council

A new movement is occurring in our country. People of different generations are moving back in together. Middle-aged adults and their parents have found happiness in this reunion. Also, single people find moving in with younger or older family members works as well.

A Los Angeles Times article from April 20, 2014 stated that the number of Californians aged 50-64 who lived with parents had increased in the previous seven years from 67,690 to 194,000.

Here are a couple of examples of merged families. They are doing the happy dance and loving it.

Jean 92, and daughter Joan, 60, divide the chores with Jean taking care of food and Joan cleaning. Joan is also a big help with tech questions on their shared computer. Jean states that one of the many benefits for her is an opportunity for individual development. When she and Joan have a disagreement, the process of working things out and compromise leads to personal growth.

Carol and Bill love having their 52-year-old daughter Linda living with them. Linda loves to cook and Bill and Carol clean up. As the elders are getting more fragile, Linda helps with the lifting and other labor-intensive jobs. At night son Glen often visits and they enjoy games together.

Often motivated by financial needs, loneliness or the need for some kind of help, many people are making the move and liking it. They like the companionship and family togetherness, the fun of games, making music together or rooting for the home team. They like sharing the chores of shopping, cooking and yard work and caring for each other. They also can share in the expenses of housing and taxes and the work of maintenance.

These families can face some issues. Financial problems occur and contracts are often needed to deal with handling money and sharing expenses. However, there can be advantages such as tax deductions for those caring for an elderly parent.

Privacy is an extremely important issue. Maintaining individual privacy is often the main glue that keeps a family functional.

Ground rules for care of grandchildren need to be worked out, including such thorny issues as agreeing on discipline and the use of TV.

Standards of house cleaning often require formal agreements since all parties find that making a home both pleasant and healthy is so important.

However difficult these issues seem to be, they can be worked out and there’s a lot of help available.

“Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of a nation,” said sociologist Margaret Mead.

Doing the happy dance is sounding more and more attractive!

Here are some useful sources of more information:

“How to Prepare When Elderly Parents Move in With Adult Children,” www.ElderLawAnswers.com

Together Again: A Creative Guide to Multigenerational Living, by Sharon Graham Niederhaus and John L. Graham

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