Currently greater than one third of the country’s population is either disabled, chronically ill or over the age of 65. More homes are becoming multi-generational as Baby Boomers bring their aging parents home to live while still raising families of their own. It is now common to have small children and grandparents in the home at the same time; the challenge is to ensure that the home is usable by each member of the family, today and into the future. With some creative remodeling, it is possible to enjoy the richness of life together without the stress and strain of being crowded together in home that is too small or does not function well.
Financial Considerations for a Multi-generational Home
Multi-generational living can make excellent financial sense. The average cost of assisted living in 2012 was $3,550 per month ($42,600 per year) according to a long-term care market survey conducted by MetLife. An average addition with bath and special accommodations might run $120,000 or more, but often can be fully covered by the sale of Grandma’s home. Remodeling not only allows Grandma and Grandpa to be safe and enjoy their comparative freedom, it also improves the value of your home and can represent substantial long-term savings compared to costs of a senior-living facility.
What Kind of Remodeling Makes Sense for Aging Parents?
“Universal Design” is the skill of designing a home that is open to people of all capabilities, whether that includes children, elderly or those inconvenienced by temporary or permanent disability. In-law suites are a great option and usually include a master bedroom and a full bath, but some homeowners also choose to include a sitting room, small kitchen area and even a private entrance. In remodeling for seniors, consider implementing Universal Design features such as wider halls, easy access doors, and features like grab bars, no curb showers, and easy-to-reach shelving. Appropriate lighting is an important consideration for safety and the enjoyment of the space as well. In-law suites are ideally placed on the ground floor so grandparents won’t have to walk up and down too many stairs. If the suite needs to be on an upper level or the basement level, a home elevator can be designed into the plan.
The photos (above, right) are of a mother-in-law apartment that Estate Homes designed and built over an existing garage that connects to the main home by way of a sky bridge. This provides independent living with a private entry, while having a connection with the remainder of the family.
If you’re concerned about a parent who can no longer safely live alone, please contact us. We can help you explore the smart and rewarding “senior living” options you have right at home.