As the saying goes, all good things in moderation, and that includes the time we’ve spent quarantining in 2020. In March, the idea of suddenly working from home and staying inside as much as possible might not have seemed so bad. Cutting out your daily commute and spending more time at home with family certainly sounded good on paper, after all.
Several months later and with no end in sight, our attitudes toward lockdown may have shifted, even though social distancing is still just as important for health and safety. Quarantine fatigue is real, but if there’s one thing you can do to help ease the strain of this prolonged pandemic while still following the recommended guidelines for distancing, it’s creating your own “social bubble.”
Easier said than done, creating a safe social circle of friends or extended family members often includes experiencing lockdown from under the same roof. So just how many people have moved in together since the pandemic began, and is it really helping? To find out, we surveyed over 460 people with new houseguests to understand how their stress levels have changed, if their regular living expenses have increased, and how things are different for children moving back in with their parents versus parents opting to move in with their children. Read on to see what we uncovered about opening up your home during lockdown.
Building a Social Bubble During Quarantine
Among those surveyed, the number of new houseguests being entertained since the pandemic began wasn’t limited to just one or two people. On average, respondents reported roughly three people having moved in with them since March 2020, including their friends (53%), adult children (48%), and parents (47%).
While a majority of people suddenly sharing quarters with their parents or friends considered the adjustment easy, it wasn’t always stress-free. Eighty percent of respondents acknowledged having to reconfigure the furniture in their homes to accommodate new guests, and 65% admitted to arguing with their partner over the new housemates. Compared to just 11% of respondents who reported a decrease in their stress as a result of the people newly living with them, 63% indicated their stress levels had increased since opening up their home to friends or family.
For the most part, the idea of choosing to live together during a pandemic can help to increase your social interactions with each other while you limit additional contact with people outside your “bubble.” More than 89% of people acknowledged there were social distancing rules in place within their home, though 66% also indicated someone living with them had broken those rules. Friends (53%) living together were the most likely to disregard quarantine etiquette, followed by adult children (38%) and parents (28%). Forty-four percent of people also disclosed that either they or someone living with them had contracted COVID-19 at some point.
Beyond having to rearrange their furniture or set ground rules for social distancing outside the home, people opting to let friends or family move in during lockdown also reported increased costs of living. On average, monthly maintenance expenses increased by $92.64, while the cost for groceries ($122.80) and utilities ($133.50) increased even more due to new houseguests. Seventy percent of people reporting new residents in their home had asked those guests to help contribute to added costs around the house.
Living Together Again
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults fall into the highest risk category for severe illness from COVID-19. More than 80% of respondents indicated parents (or their partner’s parents) who moved in with them were considered to be at high risk of death if they contracted COVID-19. Forty-five percent of people with high-risk parents living with them during the pandemic admitted to feeling stressed by their parents’ risk status for the disease.
Overwhelmingly, 83% of people newly living with their parents or in-laws during lockdown indicated their guests were helpful around the home, though parents (85%) were more likely to earn this distinction compared to in-laws (78%). Despite their relatively helpful nature, over 73% of people also reported fighting with their parents or in-laws about their contributions around the house, and nearly 80% were ready for their parents to move back out. While the joys of lockdown may have passed with their parents at home, more than 40% of people reported the decision to move their parents or in-laws in during the pandemic would segue into a permanent situation.
Families Together Again
With many college classes moving to virtual environments and mass levels of unemployment, more and more adult children have little choice but to consider moving back home with their parents while they wait for life to return to some sense of normalcy. Seventy-seven percent of people polled reported having an adult child move back home with them, 79% of whom indicated their child was still a student. Still, the pandemic was no excuse to set a low standard for living at home again. Sixty-seven percent of parents acknowledged charging their adult children rent to move back in, including 73% who had college students move home.
While 72% of parents described having fights with their adult children housemates about their contributions around the house, 80% indicated it was helpful to have them home. Helpful or not, 69% of parents also admitted they already had plans for their adult children to move back out, though almost 32% of parents had no idea when (or how) their child could get out on their own again.
Closeness Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Parents with adolescent children at home have different challenges to adapt to. Distance learning combined with one or both parents possibly working from home can create tension that’s difficult to escape. On average, parents indicated spending nearly six hours a week cleaning up after their children during the pandemic.
Despite these possibly less than favorable circumstances, 56% of parents indicated they were getting along better with their children now than they were before the pandemic began. Sixty percent of parents reported hiring help with their children as a result of the pandemic, including 63% of parents working from home, and 55% of parents still commuting to work. While 1 in 4 parents hired in-home child care five days a week, slightly more (27%) hired help for just two days a week, while a bit less (20%) hired help for three days a week.
Adapting to the New Normal
At this point, it goes without saying that adapting to live in a global health pandemic is stressful. In addition to having to worry about your family’s health or safety, many homes are adjusting to changes in life (including working from home or virtual learning for children) with no end in sight. Of course, while many people who opened their homes to friends or family members considered their presence helpful, prolonged periods under the same roof (in some cases, permanent) can present entirely unique challenges.
At Stannah Stairlifts, we know how important comfort and safety is to your loved ones. For over 150 years, we’ve been providing families with practical solutions for maintaining an independent lifestyle at home. With indoor and outdoor solutions, we’re passionate about making sure you and your family members can have independence in every area of your home. Explore our options and get a free price quote at Stannah-Stairlifts.com today.
Methodology and Limitations
We ran two surveys on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The first survey looked at 467 people who had at least one adult move in with them since March 2020.
437 people had a parent or in-law move in with them since March, and 359 people had an adult child over the age of 17 move in with them.
The average age of respondents was 36.56.
The second survey was only of 472 parents with children under 17 living with them. The average age of these respondents was 35.61.
Both of these surveys rely on self-reported data and therefore have some limitations. Respondents may have over- or underreported values within the studies. Neither survey results were weighted.
Are your readers adjusting to life with new people living at home with them? Share the results of this study for any noncommercial use with the inclusion of a link back to this page so they have access to our full findings and survey methodology.