April 26th, 2016 | Home Additions
According to data from AARP, nearly 25 percent of baby boomers plan on having their aging parents move in with them as they get older. If you’re currently one of those considering multi-generational living, you’re likely also wondering how you can create a home that will keep everyone happy and comfortable. One of the solutions that’s becoming increasingly common: designing an in-law suite addition. Not only does this allow for added space without having to move out of your current home, it also allows you to design an area that is accessible and appropriate for an elderly parent. When it comes to the latter, here are a few important things to remember as you embark on the design process.
1. Accessibility. If you’re going to have a relative live with you as they age, you’ll want to make sure that all areas of the in-law suite are designed to be accessible. This means considering the possibility that one of your parents may require a walker or wheelchair down the line, or may not be as mobile as they are now. Single-floor layouts, large doorways, frameless showers, and grab bars will all make the suite friendly to aging-in-place.
2. Creating a different HVAC zone. There’s a good chance your mom or dad will have an internal thermostat that’s much different from yours. Keep everyone comfortable by creating a separate HVAC zone in the new addition so parents can control the temperature of their space without it affecting the rest of the home.
3. Proper egress. When designing any home addition, it’s important to ensure that there is a proper method of egress. In a typical addition, that could mean something as simple as a large window. But in an in-law suite addition that will be occupied by an older person, you want to make sure that the point of egress is easily accessible, and easy to operate. The best bet: a large, easy-to-open doorway.
4. Privacy. Even if your family is as close as can be, there will be times when both you and your parents require alone time. Creating an addition that operates as a separate wing of your home, with its own bedroom, bathroom, and living area will make the transition to a multi-generations home much easier. Before you install another full kitchen, however, note that some states will then consider your space a two-family home, and it will be subject to a different set of zoning regulations.