Modern families: 'You don't worry about being alone'
Multi-generational household means freedom, Winnipeg senior says
Winnipeg grandmother Corazon MacNeil is part of a growing trend in this country: She lives in a multi-generational household, under the same roof as her adult son, his wife and their two young children.
But she didn't see it coming.
"It never crossed my mind," MacNeil said.
"But when it gets to the point where you couldn't do the things that you'd like to do, it's kind of hard."
CBC spoke with the MacNeil family as part of the series Modern Families, which will be featured on our website during the month of September.
Multi-generational households are the fastest-growing type of household in Canada, up 37.5 per cent from 2001 to 2016.
A few years ago, MacNeil still lived in her own home in Winnipeg and split her time between Manitoba and Calgary, where she stays with her adult children.
Her son Dan MacNeil thought it was time for a change.
"It really wasn't much of a stretch in my mind when we were kind of thinking about it, because we did live with my grandparents for a while and I loved when they were with us," he said.
"I have really fond memories of my grandmother and grandfather staying with us and growing up with them was special to me. So being able to give that to my kids is important to me."
When he raised the idea of living together with his mother, Corazon MacNeil's first thought was about Dan's wife, Alison Tobin, who doesn't share his Filipino heritage and its tradition of multi-generational households. She wasn't sure what her daughter-in-law would think about having three generations under one roof.
"At first, I guess, I wasn't quite sure, just because I'm a fairly private person," Tobin said.
"But we talked about it and it made sense," she said. "It's been an easy transition and it's worked out really well."
Changing needs, new home
Dan MacNeil built a new home, in part to accommodate the plan to live together.
When he was designing the house, he took some of his mother's needs into account; Corazon MacNeil is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for arthritis.
She appreciates what she calls the "arthritic friendly" faucets and doorknobs that she can operate easily.
She also appreciates being around her family.
"You don't worry about being alone," she said.