Something historic is happening in the U.S. Even as companies are swelling to include an unheard-of four generations of workers (soon to be five), there also are more multigenerational households than ever. Nearly one in five Americans — 57 million — live in such households, says the Pew Research Center.

Typical multigenerational households are anchored by boomer parents, who are joined by the generations before and after — their young adult offspring (ages 25 to 34) and their own parents. The young adults can’t afford their own homes due to huge student loans and a tough job market. The grandparents are moving in for health reasons: Without caregivers, they’d have give up their independence and enter assisted living or nursing homes.

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Multigenerational households offer opportunity and challenge for pool/spa professionals.

Opportunity: They’ll want certain amenities, and a pool or spa definitely is on that list, says Tina Dittmar, aquatics supervisor for the city of Laguna Nigel, Calif., and a seminar leader on the dynamics of the multigenerational workforce.

Dittmar foresees higher demand for waterfeatures because they’re fun and therapeutic. Installers just need to be mindful of accessibility issues. “The older generation can’t climb up and over the [spa] lip to get in,” she notes.

Challenge: Multigenerational households might be likened to the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth.” As Debra Smith notes, your customer might be a boomer with an adult child and grandkids living on the property, and all have opinions. “The persons at home want to have input and make changes to the project,” says the president of Pulliam Pools in Dallas/Fort Worth.