Home Additions for Aging Parents
As members of the so-called sandwich generation, it’s very likely that many of us will soon find ourselves in the positions of caring for our aging parents. Some of us will take responsibility for our parent’s care, even to the point of inviting aging parents to move into our homes. For some, the smartest move is to create a separate-yet-connected living space. Commonly referred to as “Mother-In-Law Suites” or “Granny-Flats”, these home additions are usually small living spaces that are accessible by the main house by a shared door. These suites are often converted basements, garages, or brand new additions.
Something To Consider
If you’re toying with the idea of moving an aging parent into your home, there are some aspects you’ll need to think about. Keep in mind that your decision will affect your entire family, so it should be a joint decision. Check out this family’s story on how they made multi-generational living work for them.
Carefully consider how much space you have in your home. Multi-generational living tends to work best in large homes that offer separate bedroom, bathroom, or even kitchen facilities.
If your living space is limited, consider renovating a basement, attic, or garage to create more space. You might also consider a small addition.
Think about things like whether or not you’ll need to install grab bars beside the toilet and in the bathtub. Consider whether or not your parent would like privacy, their own separate entrance, or their own space for cooking that isn’t shared with the rest of the family.
There are other limitations that your home may present for an aging parent. Are your hallways wide enough to accommodate mom’s wheelchair? Are there more steps than dad can climb? Will you need to install emergency pull cords?
Consider the following before building a mother-in-law suite for an aging parent:
- Decide what your expectations are for the new living arrangement well before setting things in motion.
- Make sure everyone in your family agrees.
- Make sure your aging parent agrees, and allow them to be part of the process.
- If you choose to build an addition, make sure its built following universal design guidelines.
- Consider your space: are counters, bathrooms, and doorways wheelchair accessible? Is there a walk-in shower with grab bars?
- Always try to opt for entry-level additions so that you can eliminate the need for stairs.
- Look for a professional contractor with experience in universal design and additional space for aging family members.
- Always check municipal building codes to make sure that accessory dwellings are allowed (a reputable contractor should be able to help you with this).
- If adding space to your existing home is not an option, there might be another way to keep your aging parent close enough to care for. Check out these small modular homes designed specifically for keeping family members close by. They can sit on your existing property while still offering a sense of independence.
Let’s discuss your thoughts and vision for an in-law suite and how best to include your aging parents in a comfortable living space. We believe that the process and systems we institute to meet your needs are as important as the final product, and we will always do our best to make sure you are happy with our work.
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