Over 64 million, or 1 in 5 U.S. families live in a multigenerational household. During COVID-19, more families are living and quarantining together. Grandma, grandpa, parents, and even adult children need to find time and room for privacy and independence to avoid misunderstandings.
“Think of your multigenerational household as a beehive; everyone has their own unique purpose in the living environment,” says Lisa Cini, aging expert, and author of Hive: The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living: How Our Family Makes it Work. “Different generations handle things based on the life experiences they’ve had. Balancing everyone living under one roof can teach valuable life lessons for our future.”
The following tips & tech may be helpful for multigenerational living:
- Create a “SUPERBUG” free clean environment for everyone: Avoid dust bunnies which can induce asthma and allergies with a robotic vacuum like Roomba, which can be programmed to clean any time throughout the day. Disinfect & Shield™, an FDA-registered, EPA-approved and eco-friendly disinfectant used in surgical suites for the last decade is now available worldwide to kill SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19 and other dangerous organisms like MRSA. It creates a permanent anti-microbial shield, preventing these dangerous organisms from attaching to the surface where it has been applied without risk to humans, animals, or crops.
- Keep the kids entertained: Work from home parents find it difficult to handle work obligations and zoom calls when kids are bored and summer programs have closed due to COVID-19. Virtual camps are popping up to keep kids engaged and happy. Adventure Links, a 23-year old summer camp in Virginia, replaced its usual summer adventure camp programs with CampCloud™, an experiential online alternative from “virtually anywhere”.
- Make the household user friendly for each generation: Depending on levels of mobility, households will need to be retrofitted to avoid slips and trips to the emergency room. If older members of the family have issues with using the restroom on their own, a perfect addition to the bathroom is a bidet. And, make sure that loved ones are being safe while they cook with tech devices like FireAvert, which automatically shuts the stove off if food starts smoking.
- Reimagine living spaces with “L.O.V.E”: Lisa’s signature design stems from L.O.V.E, which stands for Light, Optimize, Visual & Ease. Integrate plenty of natural light, to regulate sleep cycles. Optimize the space by including items that will help with mobility while adding personal touches. Visualize each room by giving it a clear purpose, like eating dinner at the dining room table versus in front of the TV or alone in a separate room. Ease in navigating clear paths to the bathroom, etc.
“Although the new normal isn’t what any of us are used to, it’s imperative that we take care of each other, respect each other’s needs, sacrifice for the greater good and support each other in tough times,” adds Cini. “You learn as you live with each other, the things that make you a family; the sweet things and the challenging things, the funny things and poignant things, that’s really what matters at this time.”
Lisa Cini is an award-winning senior living designer, President / CEO of Mosaic Design Studio and author of BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive, The Future is Here: Senior Living Re-imagined, and Hive, The Simple Guide to Multigenerational Living: How Our Family Makes it Work. Go to Lisamcini.com to sign up for her blog. If you want to find the best tech products that help seniors Embrace Aging and Live Independently, visit BestLivingTech.com.