Census shows more intergenerational homes

October 15, 2008 7:56:24 AM PDT
New numbers from the United States Census Bureau paint a picture of the American family in flux. We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of households where parents are living with their adult children.

Meet the Yotsuya family, there's Leslie Yotsuya-Montagna, and her mom Mimi, and there's Leslies two children, son Max and daughter Mia.

When Mimi's husband died four years ago, she moved in with her daughter.

"I do not want to go to a retirement home. I want to stay as young as I can, and as healthy as I can, and ornery as I can. I'm sorry I had to put that in," said Mimi Yotsuya.

According to new U.S. Census Bureau information, the number of parents living with their adult children skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007 from about 2.1 million in 2000, to 3.6 million in 2007 - that's a staggering 67 percent increase. Higher housing costs and the struggling economy are believed to be contributing. But perhaps the biggest single factor is, as in the Yotsuya family, intergenerational households are more common among the nation's growing number of immigrants. Leslie sought a caregiver for her 81-year-old mother using the same approach she would to find a caregiver for her children.

"Are they safe? Are they well taken care of? Do they have stimulation? Are you providing them a full life? And as a working parent and working daughter - those challenges were there," said Leslie Yotsuya-Montagna.

Kevin Reneau is owner of Senior Helpers, one of the growing number of companies that can provide such caregivers.

"We do full reference checks, we do full background checks, social security number checks; its required by our insurance companies - so they come into our homes of our senior clients - both insured and bonded," said Reneau.

But not every family integration can go as smoothly as it did for the Yotsuya family. Sometimes physical or mental issues drive the situation, and that can lead to emotional or financial problems; which is where the Family Caregiver Alliance comes in.

"The primary option is somebody living probably in an apartment nearby. Secondary, would be the assisted living type residence," said Leah Eskenaz, Family Caregiver Alliance.

Back at the Yotsuya house, we're told Max and his grandmother have become playmates, and confidants.

"In her room she secretly turns the radio on and then starts dancing to the music," said Max Yotsuya-Montagna.


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