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  • Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged

    Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged

    The number of Californians 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes has surged in recent years, reflecting the grim economic aftermath of the Great Recession.



    At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts. Above, Debbie and Ron Rohr at the Salinas home of Debbie's mother, where they have lived with their twin teenage sons since October. (David Butow, For The Times / April 14, 2014)

    By Walter Hamilton
    April 20, 2014, 6:37 p.m.

    Debbie Rohr lives with her husband and twin teenage sons in a well-tended three-bedroom home in Salinas.

    The ranch-style house has a spacious kitchen that looks out on a yard filled with rosebushes. It's a modest but comfortable house, the type that Rohr, 52, pictured for herself at this stage of life.

    She just never imagined that it would be her childhood home, a return to a bedroom where she once hung posters of Olivia Newton-John and curled up with her beloved Mrs. Beasley doll.

    Driven by economic necessity — Rohr has been chronically unemployed and her husband lost his job last year — she moved her family back home with her 77-year-old mother.

    At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

    For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

    The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

    "The numbers are pretty amazing," Wallace said. "It's an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They're mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They've got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents' homes."

    Many more young adults live with their parents than those in their 50s and early 60s live with theirs. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 1.6 million Californians have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms, according to the data.

    Though that's a 33% jump from 2006, the pace is half that of the 50 to 64 age group.

    The surge in middle-aged people moving in with parents reflects the grim economic reality that has taken hold in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

    Long-term unemployment is especially acute for older people. The number of Americans 55 and older who have been out of work for a year or more was 617,000 at the end of December, a fivefold jump from the end of 2007 when the recession hit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    As with Rohr, those in their 50s move in only as a last resort. Many have exhausted savings. Some have jobs but can't shoulder soaring rents in areas such as Los Angeles or San Francisco.

    Whatever the cause, moving in with Mom and Dad exacts a bruising emotional toll. Even asking to move the family in was difficult for Rohr.

    "I said 'Mom, I'm so sorry but I don't know what to do,'" she said. "I dreaded it. If it wasn't for my boys I wouldn't have done it. I would have lived in my car."

    Jenny Chung Mejia knows how tough it can be. As a public policy consultant at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Los Angeles, she helps people and communities regain their economic health.

    "It's unexpected vulnerability at this point in your life," she said. "When you're supposed to be the provider, sort of the rock for yourself and your family and maybe your parents, the table just gets turned on you and the rug gets pulled out from under you."

    That's what happened to Janine Rosales, who moved into her mother's San Francisco home two years ago after a career of mostly low-paying jobs left her unable to afford the city's towering rents.

    For Rosales, 53, it represented a personal defeat, an unofficial marker of unmet goals in life.

    "I sit here sometimes and I see baby pictures of myself and my teenage years and remember all the dreams I had," Rosales said. "I never thought I'd end up where I am."
    What's scary about this is that the people doing it have semi-intact families to go home to if things are bad. The Gen X and Millennials don't have that. Mom may be too pressed herself to put up a couple with kids in her 2 bedroom condo. Dad or Mom may have remarried and have younger families they are supporting. Conflicts over divorce may mean that neither parent is a safe haven emotionally or economically.

    The number of Californians 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes has surged in recent years, reflecting the grim economic aftermath of the Great Recession.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Good point, Ginger. I have many clients that have moved back in with parents due to divorce circumstances. I don't know what their children will do. Generation ago, however, many families lived like this. My grandparents lived with my great grandparents for a time being after having children (of course, they were in their late 20's when they did this, and it was the Depression). I know many Italian families, especially those that live in the city, that have multi-generations in their homes. It simply was what was done. They lived with their parents as a help to them, but then they became the help to their parents as they aged.

    I've been living part time with my mother since her illness has turned, because I live close enough to go over, but far enough to make it a real hassle to do the travel between work, her house, and my house every day, so spending the night there is oftentimes easier, and necessary for me to at least keep my eye on her at night during the really bad days.
    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
    Robert Southwell, S.J.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
      Good point, Ginger. I have many clients that have moved back in with parents due to divorce circumstances. I don't know what their children will do. Generation ago, however, many families lived like this. My grandparents lived with my great grandparents for a time being after having children (of course, they were in their late 20's when they did this, and it was the Depression). I know many Italian families, especially those that live in the city, that have multi-generations in their homes. It simply was what was done. They lived with their parents as a help to them, but then they became the help to their parents as they aged.

      I've been living part time with my mother since her illness has turned, because I live close enough to go over, but far enough to make it a real hassle to do the travel between work, her house, and my house every day, so spending the night there is oftentimes easier, and necessary for me to at least keep my eye on her at night during the really bad days.
      I think we don't have the culture for this anymore. As a child, our house was home, off and on, to various uncles, aunts, packs of cousins, family friends, whatever. But personal privacy wasn't such a big issue. I slept in the same bed with various relations ranging from 6 to 76 and thought that was completely normal because in Scandi and rural life - it was normal.

      I got a bed to myself when I was about 10 or so and a room to myself at about 16. This was not considered "weird" or problematic where I grew up. Most same sex children slept together in the same room and often two in one full bed. We weren't thrilled or anything but it was common.

      Accommodating an Aunt and Uncle and their kids was just a thing. No one liked it but we did it for a month or a year. On the other hand, they worked like dogs to get out of it.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        Philly kind of stole my thunder on this.

        It wasn't all that long ago that houses were built and they stayed in the same family for many generations, and many generations stayed in the same house.

        More common when I was growing up was moving mom/dad into the children's home. It was a way of avoiding having the costs of a nursing home eat up the entirety of a family fortune that had been built over a couple of generations. Gramma was a dottering, out-of-her-brain fool a lot of times, but at least she could be watched without much risk of her turning up wandering ten miles from home in her housecoat.

        Standards of privacy certainly have changed, though, as Ginger noted.
        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
          I think we don't have the culture for this anymore. As a child, our house was home, off and on, to various uncles, aunts, packs of cousins, family friends, whatever. But personal privacy wasn't such a big issue. I slept in the same bed with various relations ranging from 6 to 76 and thought that was completely normal because in Scandi and rural life - it was normal.

          I got a bed to myself when I was about 10 or so and a room to myself at about 16. This was not considered "weird" or problematic where I grew up. Most same sex children slept together in the same room and often two in one full bed. We weren't thrilled or anything but it was common.

          Accommodating an Aunt and Uncle and their kids was just a thing. No one liked it but we did it for a month or a year. On the other hand, they worked like dogs to get out of it.
          Yep. Didn't get my own bed until I was 14....same time that I got my own room. The really weird thing, though, was that we had a "guest room". Yep...it was vacant, yet my sister and I shared a room (and a bed). But, then again, my grandparents came to visit at least once a month, if not twice a month. The guest room became my grandfather's room, my grandmother got my room, and we all fought over who got to sleep with grandpa, until we aged out. Once both my sister and I were aged out I got my pick of the floor space, couch space, or my brother's trundle (or if I was really lucky I got his bed and he got floor space somewhere else).

          We frequently had someone staying with us. For a year it was my brother's best friend as his parents moved to Michigan his senior year. I don't actually recall any discussion about it. He didn't want to move, so he moved in. It just happened. Sometimes we had various teen runaways (usually friends of my sisters) or someone kicked out of their house for a week or so because their parents were ticked off. We had the room, a swimming pool, and one parent in the house who worked all the time, so it was kind of the perfect house for someone needing a place to stay. Nobody minded, really.
          Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
          Robert Southwell, S.J.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yo Philly,

            Joyce and I will be retiring in 7 months, (well the biatch already retired, she's still pulling the C-Card) so we will be down soon to look after your Maryland property for you. Fear not, I'll get my brother to throw in all the crab cakes you can eat. Just sayin'
            If it pays, it stays

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Frostbit View Post
              Yo Philly,

              Joyce and I will be retiring in 7 months, (well the biatch already retired, she's still pulling the C-Card) so we will be down soon to look after your Maryland property for you. Fear not, I'll get my brother to throw in all the crab cakes you can eat. Just sayin'
              You are absolutely welcome to do so.
              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
              Robert Southwell, S.J.

              Comment


              • #8
                There's another side to that. I would think a lot of these people help their parents out just as their parents help them out once they get a job. The truth is it's financially easier to live with rooomates than it is to live without one. I moved back in with my parents years ago when I was in trouble. Now, we're all paying for the essentials. I actually worry about what would happen if I actually got married or decided I couldn't take it anymore and moved back out. lol.

                on edit: As for privacy, I'll leave the house if I have to. No big deal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I realize that moving back in with parents or parents moving in with children can be stressful. That said, there is something to be gained by both generations being together. If you have enough space and are not on top of each other, grandparents can serve a great family purpose of being extended parents. Look at the Obama's. Now their girls are old enough now to stay by themselves for a few hours or part of the day but they're not old enough to stay completely without adult supervision. They have their maternal grandma who can pick up the slack if both their mom and dad are doing something (and you know they are).

                  Nothing is better than knowing your mom and/or dad is watching your child, imo.
                  May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
                  Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
                  And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
                  may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think my grandparents were the first generation of my family to not live in a multigenerational home. My paternal grandparents bought a new house in 1925. It was smaller than houses had been, but had a monster coal burning central heating system which was a vast improvement over the gravity heating of the older houses. Prior to that they all lived on farms where you had multigenerational households and often more than one dwelling. My paternal great great grandfather reportedly kept slaves into the 20th century.
                    The year's at the spring
                    And day's at the morn;
                    Morning's at seven;
                    The hill-side's dew-pearled;
                    The lark's on the wing;
                    The snail's on the thorn:
                    God's in his heaven—
                    All's right with the world!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
                      and lost …
                      But the Republicans are racist.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
                        My paternal great great grandfather reportedly kept slaves into the 20th century.
                        Gee, my grandparents on both sides did too and we're still kind of ticked off about it.

                        I think the article is really speaking to the fact that the all the parties find it awkward today. Many parents have varied lives and commitments in retirement so not all are happy about sharing space with their children or grand kids. The children probably have a sense of failure at moving back in (that true when I was a kid) and both groups probably have more conflict over how to arrange things today than they would have had 25, 50, or 75 years ago. Back then it was "my house, my rules, no debate" while today adult children (and their children) are more likely to object to things they dislike or to ignore explicit rules they see as pointless.
                        "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                          Gee, my grandparents on both sides did too and we're still kind of ticked off about it.

                          I think the article is really speaking to the fact that the all the parties find it awkward today. Many parents have varied lives and commitments in retirement so not all are happy about sharing space with their children or grand kids. The children probably have a sense of failure at moving back in (that true when I was a kid) and both groups probably have more conflict over how to arrange things today than they would have had 25, 50, or 75 years ago. Back then it was "my house, my rules, no debate" while today adult children (and their children) are more likely to object to things they dislike or to ignore explicit rules they see as pointless.
                          A lot of conflict can be avoided if the ground rules are that all adults get treated like adults.

                          When I finished undergraduate school, I could have afforded to have my own place, but my parents had a big house in a nice neighborhood, and it was cheaper all around for me to contribute to expenses than for us to have separate homes. My parents had some fairly basic rules when we were kids, but the only "rule" we had as adults sharing living space was not to bring illegal substances into the house.

                          Multigenerational living can be just fine if everyone treats each other with the same basic courtesy they would a non-relative roommate.
                          "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                            Multigenerational living can be just fine if everyone treats each other with the same basic courtesy they would a non-relative roommate.
                            I think that's the problem. People believe they can impose their own concepts on relatives in a way they would hesitate to do with a non-relative.

                            A person staying with a friend for a while would never let their kids or pets be disruptive, they wouldn't drag random strangers into the home overnight, they wouldn't eat like jackals, or sit around texting while the friend did all the housework, yardwork, food prep, etc.

                            I think that's the problem now. Adult kids fall too easily back into the childhood routine where the parents (or just the single Mom) did everything for them until they left. The parent, on the other hand, is likely to be over 60 and less able to cope with doing everything for a long stay.
                            "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I live with my parents, and I'm 38. My situation is more to do with health (mine and my mother's) as we both need TLC from time to time, so we help each out out as much as possible. I'm not too ashamed to admit the situation any more, either, because it's just the smart thing to do with my limited income ability and her need for occasional round the clock care.

                              That said, despite the thousands who are moving back home with their parents or other relatives, there still exists a huge social stigma attached to this type of living arrangement. I've gotten some pretty mean flack from people my own age who are making it on their own in various ways, as well as from parents of much more successful and healthy kids. Same with my aunt, who is over 50 and lives with her mother (my grandmother, or "granny" as we say in the deep south.) She works two low wage jobs and puts in 50+ hours a week a lot of the time, but is still considered a failure to many because she won't (can't) move out.

                              It used to hurt because at the time, getting criticized for living at home made me feel like a failure. And I am, by all normal accounts, but that's not the point. The point is I don't need people telling me how to live my life, nor does anyone else, so instead of being sad, I get mad and fight back. I don't want sympathy, but I don't need haranguing, either. Sometimes it takes a jolt for the comfortably middle class types to realize just how close they are to abject poverty when they are merely living check to check and not saving money for emergencies, but most folks seem to revel in being blissfully unaware of how close they can be to losing their homes, jobs, insurance and children.

                              As far as close-knit family goes, we're about to double-down. My (other) grandmother just put money down on the house next door to my parents' and if all goes well she'll be moving in next month. With her extra space, there will be up to 7 Servo family members in two houses next to each other on this sleepy little street. Should be interesting. And when the aforementioned aunt's mother finally kicks the bucket, she's already planning to move down here as well, to a trailer park that is just down the street. Yikes.
                              Last edited by Tom Servo; Thursday, April 24, 2014, 3:52 AM.
                              “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

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