The Boomerang Generation: An American Homecoming

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With a return of family togetherness, smaller living spaces have U.S. families adjusting to new household realities.

Things are getting tight in the American household, and it’s not just the recession squeeze.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2007, the number of parents living in an adult child’s household increased by 67 percent. At the same time, a recent Pew Research Center report (Nov. 2009), shows that one in 10 young adults ages 18 to 35 say the poor economy has forced them to move back in with their parents.

Whatever the cause of these new phenomena—whether it can be blamed on job loss or the more positive signs of Americans’ desires to build closer family bonds during increasingly insecure times—forward-thinking designers, architects and builders are being called upon to consider “proximity with privacy” solutions that will take some of the pressure off crowded households.

Peace and Quiet

Chair facing windows.
JELD-WEN® vinyl windows help keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

There’s no doubt about it: the more people crowded into close quarters, the more noise increases exponentially.

For a few hundred dollars, replacing interior doors with the latest sound-reducing technology can drastically help control noise.

JELD-WEN® ProCore The Quiet Door® is up to 50 percent quieter compared to a hollow core door, effectively blocking out many common household sounds. It also delivers the heft of an all-wood door and is available in a wide variety of stylish designs.

Other lower-cost tips for instilling peace and quiet in the home include testing the sound emission of appliances and household items such as vacuums before purchasing them.

Experts also say that at least 25 percent of noisy rooms should have sound-absorbing materials like carpet or wall coverings to prevent loud footsteps from carrying throughout the home.

An Increase in Household Energy

A household full of family members undoubtedly raises the energy level. More people typically means a bigger energy load, as the home is working 24/7 to try to keep up with different schedules and individual demands. This can be an unexpected financial drain on families.

One of the best ways to offset the increase in energy demands is to incorporate more energy-saving features that will also increase the home’s comfort level. Highly energy efficient, affordable JELD-WEN® Vinyl windows that are ENERGY STAR® qualified can help reduce utility bills over the long run, saving money month after month.

Different needs, universal solutions

As children boomerang back home after college and elderly parents move in with their children, home designs and operations need to function well for both the young and the old.

Safety, including easy-to-operate and secure window and door locks, as well as wider doorways to accommodate increased traffic flow and potential mobility issues, are important considerations.

Above all, most experts agree that multigenerational living can be a joyful, rich experience—it simply requires some planning and a shift in what has been the “typical” American lifestyle.

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Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.


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