Economy

Economy has adult children and parents becoming roommates

At 105, Eddith Moehr is on the cutting edge of a trend.

When she moved in with her daughter, 76-year-old Doris Beresford of North Natomas, at the end of 2007, Moehr became one of the 3.6 million older parents sharing living quarters with their adult children — a number that U.S. census figures indicate has increased 55 percent since 2000.

"I got a new roommate for my birthday in 2007," said Kathy Mullen, 60, who married Beresford last year.

"What a present!" said Beresford.

"Doris' mom is a treasure," said Mullen. "I'd like to be as gracious as she is about being old."

Sitting in her wheelchair at the kitchen table with them, Moehr sips chocolate Ensure and basks in their attention.

"Thank you," she said. "That's nice. Thank you, thank you."

California trails only Hawaii in its percentage of multigenerational family households, according to AARP statistics. Beyond cultural norms, tough economic conditions often play a part in families' decisions to house or move in with their elders.

At the same time, retirement communities and upscale assisted living centers that once had long waiting lists find themselves slammed with vacancies, says the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

The problem? Plummeting home prices have discouraged seniors from cashing out of their existing homes.

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