Hawkesbury District Independent June 2017 #85 - Page 38

seniors Multigenerational living: Time to get the family back together Australia’s population is growing rapidly, and the fastest growing age bracket is 65 years and over. This raises the question of how (and where) will Australia’s increasing numbers of elderly live? Will we see more instances of multiple generations living in the one home? Let’s look at the move towards multigenerational living: Australia’s changing population According to the government’s 2015 intergenerational report, by 2055 Australia’s population will reach nearly 40 million (up from around 23 million today). The fastest growing age bracket will be 65 years and over – that bracket is projected to more than double to 7 million (or around 18 percent of the population) thanks in part to Australia having one of the world’s longest life expectancies. The rise in multigenerational households In a paper delivered to the State of Australian Cities Conference 2013, data analysis showed that over four million Australians live in multigenerational households where two or more generations of related adults cohabit. This accounts for one in five Australians, with proportions higher still in the major cities. And the trend is increasing. According to the same report, there were 431,757 more multigenerational households in 2011 than 1981 Australia-wide, equivalent to a 57% increase. The report found that among those living in multigenerational homes, more than half of the respondents lived together for financial reasons (55%) and more than one-quarter lived together for care arrangement and support (27%). Benefits of multigenerational living The obvious benefit to generations living together is being able to care for and support elderly family members. But there are other benefits. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that older people also play a significant role in providing unpaid care for children, many of whom are their grandchildren. “To ease the burden of child care, many families with young children rely on grandparents to provide informal care for work and study related reasons, and to allow parents to undertake activities such as enter tainment and shopping. In 2011, 12% of older persons cared for children who were not their own.” In this era of decreased housing affordability, it’s not surprising that some families have turned to the safety of multigenerational living. However, this doesn’t diminish serious concerns about the government’s long-term budget responsibilities of managing aged care services for an ageing population. Mixing family and finance Wally David is a financial planner and the author of The Smart Money. He sees the many positive financial outcomes of multigenerational living but cautions that sometimes things can go wrong. “When carefully planned, multigenerational households can lead to a win-win scenario. An elderly person can benefit from living with other family members in their later years within a safe, secure environment, providing them the ability to stay at home for longer and avoid or delay the need for a retirement village or nursing home. It’s also likely to be a cheaper option than another home, unit or retirement village, so older family members may be able to pocket some change.” “On the flip side, the person they move in with (presumably their child or grandchild) can get a lump sum to construct or make modifications to their home for their living quarters. This will eventually add value to their home. Alternatively, if they already have the space it could mean a sum of money to reduce or pay off their mortgage.” But David warns that family and finance don’t always mix well. He recommends taking the following precautions. • Discuss your intentions with your family • Get professional advice • Reviewing your will and estate planning • Make a written agreement specific to your living arrangement www.choice.com.au From $177,000 38 ISSUE 85 // JUNE 2017 www.hdinews.com.au THE hawkesbury INDEPENDENT