Baby boomers are creating multigenerational households to support elderly parents and adult children in their home. Many boomers are now involved in a delicate a balancing act. They are balancing the needs of their adult children, struggling with unemployment and high student debts, and the needs of their elderly parents, requiring care and assistance, with their own. Out of economic necessity, baby boomers are inviting their aging parents and adult children into their homes and supporting them in multigenerational households. The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has become a safety net for family.
The recession has played havoc on the lives of baby boomer’s adult children, forcing many to return to their parents’ homes. At the same time, elderly parents of baby boomers are struggling financially and many need caregivers, so they are moving in with their boomer children. In 2010, the U. S. Census Bureau reported that ‘4.4 million U.S. homes held three generations or more under one roof.’
According to Pew Research Center 49 million Americans now live in homes with at least two generations of adults. While many boomers expected to assist their parents as they aged, most did not anticipate having to support their adult children too. Many boomer kids are graduating from college, having a tough time finding a job and are returning home to live with Mom and Dad.
This quagmire comes at a time when many boomers are contemplating retirement. Boomers have had to make lifestyle changes and sacrifice personal luxuries to support their adult children. Too many boomers have had to stop saving for retirement to support their children and some will have to postpone retirement.
Millions of baby boomers are now balancing the needs of several generations of family. The solution, boomers have found, is in the once traditional multigenerational home. But the financial strain this places on baby boomers is tremendous. There is no end in sight to this baby boomer balancing act.
Boomers will continue caring for their elderly parents and supporting their adult children as they maintain their households and their own lives. In the next decade, even more baby boomers will perform this balancing act, support a multigenerational household and serve as their family’s safety net.