When the Nest Gets Crowded: Seniors’ Children Come Back Home

Jul 7th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

One of the glaring evidences of today’s economic slide comes in the numbers of “children” who are moving back home following college.  During the past several decades the shift in persons who have entered college and received their diplomas has increased, while the numbers of available jobs for persons with degrees has not kept pace.  This has created a major paradigm shift in living patterns, requiring senior citizens to house their children who have graduated from college, but find themselves unable to find productive employment. 

Persons at retirement often look forward to the empty nest.  However, statistics show that more and more college graduates are returning to the safe haven of their parents’ home.  This creates a new psychological strain on the family, who thought life would look different once it was emptied of children.  Instead, some children find themselves in the paradox of being dependent on their parents, a not too encouraging state of being.  Others may find some work which assists in meeting some of the increased expenses of their having moved home.  Still others, some married with children, come with multiplied needs.  It is a formula for tension and an atmosphere requiring major compromises and adjustments. 

A recent Internet poll found that 80% of 2009 college graduates are now living at home, i.e. with their parents.  That does not suggest a lot of encouragement for those  who are out there looking for employment, along with the over 10% unemployment rate that looms large these days.  Everybody is competing with everybody for the scarce jobs that may be available in any town or community.  The luxury of choice has long faded.  Just a job, please?  No need for resumes or references, just finding an opening with something less than 500 people standing in line would be nice.  It isn’t a romantic time for younger starters.  Meanwhile persons who have been in the job market are clogging the arteries as well.  Listen to all these folk who are having to deal with their own despair, as more and more are finding less and less opportunity.  This does not bode well for a healthy economy, an enthusiastic group of persons out there searching, or those who have already given up. 

So, when opportunities develop which may offer occasion for employment for your adult child or someone you know, be careful not to want to cut off “unemployment” assistance.  They and others could be on the street again.  Worst case scenario is that those who have no place to go, literally, end up on the street or in bread lines or both.  These are not normal times.  Prognosticators, such as Paul Krugman and others, are massaging their crystal balls forecasting another “depression.”  This one will be, he says, in a class comparable to the depression of the 1930s.  Not good!  Preparing to be in a prepared position now may include not only considering yourself, but your childrens’ needs as well.  Where extended families have other issues to face, such as older members of the family requiring assistance, it can get even more complicated and threatening.  Creative ways to deal with such as this “doom and gloom” forecast will be required, if they come about. 

In the meantime, when the nest gets crowded, seniors and other family members will need to prepare themselves in every way they can to be ready to do what must be done to offer peace of mind and solace to all involved.

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