What does Multi-Generational Living in the Asian Community Look like Today?

Is 70 really the new 50?   Although, I’m not 70 yet, amongst my friends, I am finding that even as we age, we continue to participate in life through many avenues.  These avenues include volunteering at the food bank, joining Toastmasters, traveling, and taking up a new hobby such as learning to play the ukulele.  Some even go back to work and add tremendous experience and guidance to the next generation.   

This means many of us are living longer active lives.  And living longer active lives also means that more people are choosing to stay in their homes instead of moving to an aging facility.

Most of my interior design clients in the past were younger families that needed to update their homes.  But, recently I have seen a shift.  Younger families are living with one or more grandparents, who help look after their children. 

This is especially common among my Asian and Indian friends, because it’s part of our tradition. 

Growing up, our family moved from Honolulu to Tokyo due to my father’s job.  Consequently, our relatives were far, far away.  One summer, my paternal grandfather, and my aunt, my father’s younger sister, came from Hawaii for a summer vacation visit with her family of six.  When it was time to return to Hawaii, my grandfather refused to leave.  He decided he was going to live the last years of his life with us in Tokyo.  So, I got the pleasure of getting to know my grandfather and the experience of living with a grandparent. 

Traditionally, in Asia, it’s the eldest son’s duty to take care of the parents.  And of course, back in the day, there was no such places like assisted living, senior housing and retirement communities.   We all just took care of our own.

In feng shui, many generations living together is a very good thing.  This is because it’s the natural way of life.   And feng shui is all about “living in harmony with nature.” 

In feng shui, we focus on chi-energy.  So, in a multi-generational household, the grandparent’s chi is given more life through the young children’s energy.  It’s a good exchange of energy to create a harmonious balance while they both benefit from being together.

Today, it’s common that both mother and father work.  I have seen Asian professionals who immigrated from India and China, bring their parents from their respective countries, to come and live with them to take care of their children.  This seems to work well for everyone. 

Grandpa or Grandma teaches them the culture and language and provide a comforting environment for the children.  Living with grandparents also allows children to understand the aging process and helps them learn about empathy naturally. 

As these young professionals climb and make way in their careers, they also have the comfort that their children are getting the love and nurturing from their own grandparents.  What a wonderful solution and a win-win for everyone.

If you are living with your parents who are helping to raise your children, I’d love to hear about your experience.  Although I’m not a grandmother yet, I hope to be one day in the future.  Ah, no pressure kids….

photo credit: pixabay

About the author

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, is an interior designer, specializing in a contemporary Asian aesthetic and serves the Greater Seattle Area through her company, 3 Frogs Design. She's also a certified Feng Shui consultant from the Blue Mountain Feng Shui Institute.

One Comment

  1. I am Indian and I can relate to all of this. My maternal grandpa would tell me and my cousins stories from the Hindu epic- Ramayana, for at least 30 minutes every night in the moonlight on the front porch. He had a Masters in Physics, chemistry , but chose to live in a small village so he could be close to his widowed sisters. Whenever I am in a dilemma about sacrificing something I remember his decisions. Even 18 years after his death he is fondly remembered in my tiny village for helping people.
    Thank you!

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