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Under one roof: Quebec families embracing intergenerational housing

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Intergenerational housing is a long-standing tradition in many cultures. But some experts say the practice could become increasingly popular in Quebec as families battle the rising cost of living.

Originally from Algeria, Farid Boutalbi lives with seven people at his home in Mascouche, north of Laval.

"Both my parents, my brother and his wife, his two kids -- boy and girl -- and me," Boutalbi said of the arrangement.

He moved in with his family less than a year ago. He said buying house large enough for seven in Montreal, and even Laval, was too costly.

For Boutalbi and his family, living under the same roof is a priority.

"In Algeria, we're used to living together. It's always been like that, you know?"

Farid Boutalbi lives with his parents, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and his nephew. (CTV News/Sasha Tema)

McGill architecture professor Avi Friedman studies housing options for Quebec's eldery, as the province faces an aging population.

One of those alternatives is multigenerational housing, which he says comes with multiple benefits.

"Old people that interact with young ones have the opportunity to transfer cultural aspects and educate children," Friedman told CTV News. "They feel wanted, they feel young, and they are commonly very active."

It's something that Gertrude Falardeau, who has been living with her daughter and grandson for 15 years, can attest to.

"If I didn't have the chance to live with [my family], I probably wouldn't have made it to 101 years," said the centenarian.

Her grandson, 30-year-old Maxime Genois, says it's a privilege to live with his family.

"I can have discussions with her and learn life lessons," he said.

101-year-old Gertrude Falardeau lives with her daughter and grandson. (CTV News/Sasha Teman)

In addition to the family connection, Friedman says multigenerational living also brings financial stability.

"If they join the means of the older member of the family, all the pension that they will get, with their own income, I believe that there can be a good economy that will enable those two families to live comfortably."

A move he finds far more cost-effective than seniors going into a long-term care home.  

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