Difficult finances and loneliness force some pensioners to move with their families

Yucaipa, California — Expensive maintenance, combined with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted retiree Jennie Olsen to move in with her daughter, son-in-law and their five children.

Olsen loves being close to her family, and her daughter is getting some much-needed help.

“I get to see the grandkids grow up,” Olsen said. “I’m with them all the time.”

An estimated 60 million Americans live in households with two or more adult generations, according to figures from the Pew Research Center.

Dr. Rodney Harrell with AARP said housing shortages and high prices are forcing families to combine resources.

“Honestly, the economist side of me loves the fact that it’s just more efficient that we have people who can have a family caregiver nearby,” Harrell said.

Lennar, a construction company, has a line of Next Gen homes that come with a separate wing. These Next Gen homes account for nearly 30% of the company’s sales in Phoenix, Arizona alone.

“To be able to have that privacy and the pride of ownership of their own separate space, connected to the rest of the house, but at the same time it’s connected to the rest of the home,” said Jeremy Parness, regional vice president of Lennar.

Another option is accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, which have become popular in cities like Los Angeles thanks in part to laws in California designed to tackle the state’s housing crisis by easing the permitting process. Olsen said an ADU sounds like a good idea, and she’s putting a modular home in her daughter’s backyard.

She said her family will be close but “far enough away that I still want my solitude.”

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