By Bev Bachel
When you retire, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is where you will live. Many choose age groups, but people are increasingly choosing to live with younger family members.
According to Marc Freedman, founder of Encore.org and author of How to live forever: The lasting strength to connect the generationsThis choice could be the secret of fulfillment and happiness if we live longer.
However, intergenerational life does not only benefit pensioners. It benefits family members of all ages. That is why Robert and Kay Joslin are so happy to be reunited with their daughter Jamie and their young family under one roof.
Together for the benefit of all
For the Joslins, intergenerational life is nothing new. They had done it with the generation before them years ago.
“Kay’s father had polio in the 1950s and was in a wheelchair for most of his adult life,” explains Robert. “When Kay’s mother had a stroke, we all agreed it was time for them to come to Texas and live with us and our daughter Jamie, who was 10 years old at the time.”
So Robert and Kay designed and built a house in which all three generations could live together. Kay, who had already left her petroleum engineering career, was the main caregiver of her parents and Jamie, while Robert continued to work full time.
“This experience was invaluable,” says Robert. “It has taught us the value of different perspectives and the importance of respect and understanding.”
But eventually Kay’s parents died, Jamie moved to Minneapolis to go to college, and Robert and Kay became empty nests.
Fast forward 10 years. Until then, Jamie was married to Randy Millard and lived in Minneapolis. When the couple announced their pregnancy in 2014, Robert and Kay decided it was time to join them. In less than 10 weeks, they sold their Texas home and bought a new one just a mile from Jamie and Randy.
Shortly thereafter, Kay became the main supervisor again, this time for her granddaughter Robin, while Robert, Jamie and Randy worked full time. And even though they hadn’t had any serious talks about when to put households together, all four of them were sure that one day it would happen.
That day came earlier than expected when Jamie, 31, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis the same month she learned that she was pregnant with her second child.
“We always knew our two families would live together, but after Dani’s birth there were days when I couldn’t even change a diaper or button up the girls’ clothes, so our” one day “plan became a two-year plan . “
The four adults discussed what they wanted and needed in their new home together. Jamie and Randy needed both offices, while Kay insisted on a walk-in basement, ideally with a kitchenette, so that she and Robert, both early risers, could enjoy a cup of coffee without disturbing other family members.
Robert even created a spreadsheet to help each person prioritize what was most important to him or her.
A wise financial decision
One of her first and most important steps was to meet with a financial planner. “We knew that our goal of living together would never work if we couldn’t talk openly about money, including how much we make and how we hope to spend it,” said Robert, who is still working full time.
“We are also very clear that it is not Joslin or Millard’s money, it is our Money.”
This is one of the reasons why all four adults put their name on the title of the house when buying their new house. Therefore, they continue to speak openly about what aging means to them and what goals they are pursuing, including financial independence.
“Buying a house together was definitely a wise financial decision,” says Jamie. “A daycare center for two children costs $ 24,000 to $ 30,000 a year. And if my parents had to move to an assisted living facility, it would cost another $ 5,000 a month – for each of them. “
Family time is invaluable
While the financial benefits of living together are tremendous, it is the ordinary, everyday moments that everyone appreciates the most.
“I recently ended a conference call and went out of my office to find my father playing with my daughter Robin Monopoly while Dani was sitting in her high chair and watching,” Jamie says. “I could have cried! They played with exactly the same set that my grandparents and I had played with as a child. When I saw that, a flood of memories came back to me and I realized how blessed my family really is. “
Of course there are challenges. “Yes, we’re fighting,” says Jamie. “Yes, there is tension. But the positive ones definitely outweigh the negative ones. For example, the girls learn that there is not just one way to do things, but several ways.”
Robert agrees: “Things were great before we moved in together, and they are even better now that we are a three-generation household again, starting a family, cooking and gardening, sharing childcare, pooling our resources and reminders of it will last a lifetime. “
Bev Bachel is a freelance writer and author of What do you really want? How to set a goal and strive for it! A guide for teenagers. As a child, she enjoyed the fact that her grandmother lived with her family most of the winter.
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