Our parents have always been there for us growing up. As they age, it’s time for their children to do the same for them. However, helping your parents as they get older can be quite a responsibility. Some aging parents have medical conditions while others don’t want to lose their homes or independence.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over the next few decades, there will be over 83 million people aged 65 and older – double how many there are now. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, they will need more support and care from their family and health care providers.
Having your parents move in with you can save everyone money compared to the cost of a nursing home or assisted living facility. It can also give your parents some of the freedom and independence they need to thrive in this next phase of life. These new changes will require thorough planning and some honest conversations.
Home Renovations for Aging Parents
Sharing your home with your parents allows them to maintain independence while getting the support they need. Multi-generational households can be difficult to navigate at times, especially when you or your parents are used to a certain level of privacy and autonomy.
If you’re considering inviting your parents to move in, there are some options to give everyone privacy while still being supportive.
1. Add an In-Law Unit
If you have the space, it could be worth looking into adding an in-law cottage with a fully functioning kitchen, bath, and private entrance. This is an appealing option for aging parents who wish to maintain as much independence as possible while being close to family. A reputable contractor can help you design a space that works for your family.
2. Upgrade a Guest Room
Adding a few features to a guest bedroom can go a long way toward increased privacy. A kitchenette means your parents can relax in their own space and avoid the main kitchen during busy mornings. Extra space for a table, chairs, and small sofa can also make the room feel more like their own apartment. You may also need to add or remodel an adjacent bathroom.
3. Remodel the Basement
Creating a bedroom, living area, and kitchen in the basement is another good space to house your parents. A finished basement must be designed with the needs of the aging parents in mind. If someone uses a wheelchair or walker, the doors should be at least 3 ft wide. Access to ground level is also important for aging parents.
Considerations for Current and Future Conditions
Your parent’s current and future needs must be considered when designing your home. The American Disabilities Act has helpful guidelines to address the needs of loved ones who need extra space for better access and mobility. Features that each designated space for your parents should have include:
- Low-pile carpet for easier wheelchair navigation
- Light paint colors for a brighter space to maximize vision
- Lots of natural light
- Double doors for easier access
- Raise electrical outlets higher off the ground to minimize the need to bend down
- No steps or flooring that can cause an injury
- Replace doorknobs with lever handles or add doorknob grips.
- Walk-in showers with grab bars and a built-in bench
- Step-in tub with a door for easy entrance and exit
- Hand-held showerhead
- A niche to hold soap and shampoo at a level that can be easily reached
- Lever-style faucet handles to better operation of sink and shower
- Chair-height commode with a lever flush mechanism
- Higher countertops
- Light-colored cabinets, appliances, and countertops
- Electric stove for safety
- Acrylic or plastic dishware
- Cabinets and drawers should be fitted with levers or pulls rather than knobs.
- Install flat wide rocker switches and dimmers to feel and operate.
- Make light switches accessible by placing them no higher than 48 inches.
- Lamps and desk lighting should be controlled by wall switches.
- Install recessed lighting to provide plenty of artificial light with minimal glare.
- Light dark pathways or countertop areas with easy to install rope lighting.
Let’s Start Planning
Making room for aging parents is no easy undertaking. It requires patience and planning. At Finnteriors, we have knowledgeable contractors who can design and remodel a space for your parents that they can enjoy. We’ll add important features to make sure they can get around with no problems. Contact us today if you need to add to or remodel your home to make room for your parents.