Home Additions for Aging Parents

 In Additions, Top Renovation Posts

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.

The level of care-giving required will of course vary from person to person, and some of us will only need to lend the occasional hand with things like yard work and home improvement projects.

Some of us will undertake much more responsibility for our parent’s care, even to the point of inviting aging parents to move into our homes with us. For some, the smartest move is to create a separate-yet-connected living space for our aging parents to reside.

Commonly referred to as “Mother-In-Law Suites” or “Granny-Flats”, these home additions for aging parents 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

Wanting to help your father by inviting him to move in with you and your family is a loving and kind gesture. On the other hand, there are many things to take into consideration before making such a big decision.

The desire to help a parent who can no longer live alone can be powerful. After all, mom and dad always took care of you, didn’t they? Now it’s your turn.

But consider this: if you and your aging parent haven’t gotten along since you were in grade school, chances are things won’t be much different now. Moving mom or dad into your house could be a recipe for disaster.

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.

Space Limitations

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?

Family Dynamics

Maybe the relationship you and your parents share is great, but if your spouse can’t say the same, you might have a problem. Remember, moving a parent into your home will affect not only you, but your spouse and children as well.

Will your kids still feel comfortable inviting friends over after school, or will they be too afraid of disturbing Grandpa? How will an aging parent react to loud music or teenagers coming home late?  Will grandma be able to keep from adding in her two cents every time you and your spouse get into an argument?

It is not a wise decision to risk sacrificing your relationships with your spouse or children in order to have an aging parent stay with you.

Amount Of Care of Aging Parents

If mom can dress, bathe, feed, and take basic care of herself, it’ll be a much easier transition than if she’s unable to cope with these kinds of everyday tasks. Really take a moment to consider how much time and energy you can realistically offer to take care of your elderly parent if they were to move in to your home.

If you work, will you have the time and energy for care-giving in addition to your regular job? Would you be able to arrange for someone to come in and help while you’re away? Will your parent be alone all day?

These are just a few examples of the kinds of issues you’ll need to address before deciding whether or not having your parent move in with you is the right thing to do. No matter what, make sure you speak with every member of your household so that everyone gets the chance to have his or her say before making a decision.

 Helpful Tips

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.

JM Construction has proudly worked with many families who have taken the step of bringing their aging parents to live in their homes.  We are committed to a higher standard of excellence in all that we do, so we strive to establish firm relationships of mutual trust and respect with each and every individual we work with.

Contact us today to talk about how we can help get your family into 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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