Living in an intergenerational home

A home, two families: living in an intergenerational home

An intergenerational home is an excellent solution to housing and care for elderly or in-laws parents. Not only you will save on mortgage loans and the costs of residential care, but it also meets the needs of elderly people in terms of security and affection.

Indeed, it helps them to enjoy the attention of their family while still having a certain independence. For adults, intergenerational home is a way to care for aging parents while maintaining their daily work and life.

Conditions for an intergenerational home

Although there is no national grant program to support elderly people and their families in the purchase of such a house, Canadian provinces can provide financial assistance for the conversion of houses into intergenerational home. The programme Rénovation Québec is an example of such incentive. In order to have an intergenerational home, you will need more than erecting partitions or building a duplex-style housing. You must ask for the authorization and approval of the municipality before converting a house into intergenerational home since the zoning laws require such accommodations to respect the community appearance, so that it looks from the outside like a single-family house with a single address.

Although there is no national grant program for seniors and their families for the purchase of an intergenerational home, Canadian provinces can grant specific financial assistance available for home renovations to turn them into intergenerational homes, like the programme Rénovation Québec.

Licensing fees vary according to local regulations in each province, while the approval is essentially based on the conformity to design and layout of the building. Intergenerational homes are subject to specific design guidelines, in particular with regards to space dedicated to the elderly members of the household. This includes:

  • An interior allowing for elderly people with reduced mobility to move easily inside the house;
  • Handles in corridors ;
  • Windows, shelves, cabinets and electrical outlets at convenient height;
  • Walls with sound insulation between the two separate homes.

How to live – Harmony in an intergenerational home?

First, set the issue of the sharing of the household expenses such as electricity, utilities and food. Talk about money matters with tact. For example, will you buy groceries separately? Will there be sub-meters installed to monitor the use of electricity of the two homes? Reach an agreement so that both parties can help each other to pay the bills.

Then, distribute the daily tasks to each other, such as cooking, shopping, gardening or walking the dog. Elderly people love to be given family responsibilities, this includes daily tasks. Finally, while creating a separate space for private life at the heart of an intergenerational home, make sure to create common spaces that will make you bond and spend some quality time together.