If you are a woman living in a multi-generational household—you, your husband, your children, and your parents all under one roof, for example—you are twice as likely to have a heart attack or find yourself needing heart surgery as women who live only with their husbands, or with their husbands and children.
It is thought that this is due to the added stress of a multi-generational household. Interestingly, the results did not hold true for the men in such situations, only the women.
This news is especially relevant now as many families explore multi-generational living as an option to combat rising costs of housing and shrinking incomes.
If you find yourself in a multi-generational household, here are some tips to help you manage:
- Understand everyone’s roles. Who will be responsible for bills, helping with chores, providing care for younger and older family members, etc.? It is especially important for grandparents not to interfere in the job of parenting the younger children.
- Everyone should contribute to the well-being of the family. Even children can be given age-appropriate chores.
- Understand your limits. As much as we would like to be all things to all people, we simply can’t. Know your limits, and understand that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Care for the caregiver. Caregiver burnout is a very real problem. Take good care of yourself first, because if you don’t care for yourself first, you can’t help care for anyone else.