The cost of living in Canada has increased year over year as families face higher costs in housing, childcare and essentials like food and utilities. Multigenerational living has traditionally offered a solution for families looking to cut costs and add flexibility to their lifestyle.
Now, while the country is gripped by COVID-19 and families deal with the fallout of social distancing restrictions, many are wondering whether a multigenerational living situation may offer a way to safely care for extended family. Could a homesharing arrangement allow multigenerational families to come together during the pandemic?
Here are some considerations to help you make an educated decision that will support the safety and security of your family.
1. Home Layout
Does your home have a layout that will support multigenerational living? Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and how those rooms are spaced apart from each other. A separate basement or upper level apartment may be a great way to ensure privacy and help family members set and maintain boundaries.
Multigenerational living may mean lots of drivers within one household! Consider whether there's enough parking available for everyone. If not, look for alternatives like street parking.
It's important to consider the physical and mental health and well-being of all generations – from children to parents to grandparents. Each of these generations will have their own needs at this time, so take the time to discuss those needs and consider whether a multi-generational living arrangement would provide benefits for each person involved.
For example, parents working from home may benefit by having more adults in the house to help with children during working hours, and children and grandparents can benefit from the social benefits that come from spending time together. Of course, multigenerational living is ideal for older generations who need additional care from family, too and by combining costs, everyone involved can reduce living expenses.
In cases where rent will be paid, it's a good idea to set up a formal home share arrangement that is clear and legally binding. In a multi-generational living arrangement this agreement can ensure everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations going into the arrangement, which helps protect all parties and maintains harmony.
Caution is critical during this time. While multigenerational living and home sharing offer many benefits, it can also put vulnerable populations at risk. If one or more people in your family works outside of the home in an essential service, then consider the risk that poses for those who remain in the household, especially seniors or anyone with a compromised immune system.
It's also critical that families considering a homeshare arrangement with each other during this time ensure that they have all maintained social distancing so that there is no risk of spreading COVID-19 to each other while living in close quarters. If this is not possible then it may be better to put plans in place now to enter a homesharing arrangement once the pandemic is over.
Give HomeShare Alliance a call if you have questions about setting up a homeshare arrangement with family. As a non-essential service, we're offering online interviews and free phone consultations to answer any questions you may have about homesharing.