CHILDREN, PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
This past Christmas there was a Polish commercial that went viral and brought a tear to many an eye. In the commercial we meet an elderly Polish man who is trying to learn English. We see him practicing with his dog, in the bath and on the train. He has Post-its all over his house with English vocabulary written on them. At the end of the commercial we find out why he has been making such an effort. He wants to be able talk to his young granddaughter when he visits his family in England for Christmas. It is beautiful. It also makes one think about how family living has changed now that people are so mobile and world travel is so easy.
ADAPTING TO A NEW WAY OF LIVING
As parents age, the cost of senior care can be prohibitive. Many families are rethinking how to look after parents who are living longer and are embracing living together under one roof again. Merging finances can result in money being available to make home improvements. Making thoughtful changes to the design of your home can help accommodate everyone’s needs and make the transition to to a new way of living run smoother.
Housebuilders are starting to see greater demand for multi generational housing and are responding to the need by creating homes specifically for these families. However most extended families live in ordinary houses and need to reassess their existing space to see what alterations will work best.
EXTEND THE FLOORPLAN
With more people living in the same space, extending the floor plan on the main floor will make a big difference if this is a possibility. One level living is easier for both young and old and the majority of time is spent on the main floor. Check with your remodeling contractor about zoning and permit requirements before embarking on an extension.
Increasing the size of the kitchen ranks highly on preferred home improvements. Not surprising when you think of the extra mouths to feed. Families want a kitchen that is big enough so that several people can prepare and cook without getting in each other’s way or getting on each other’s nerves. In our rushed and busy society, there is something very special about several generations sitting down at the table to eat together. Talk to your remodeling contractor about your specific needs.
Fighting over bathrooms is sure to cause friction. Adding an extra bathroom can be a real peacemaker. Elderly parents may need a bathroom designed with limited mobility and safety in mind. Following Universal Design principles will make sure that a new bathroom will work for everyone. Discuss your remodeling ideas with a bathroom designer.
SEPARATE LIVING AREAS
If you have enough space, you may want to designate separate living areas for elderly parents who may find the high energy of little ones very tiring if they can’t get away for a little peace and quiet. A basement could be ripe for a makeover or an attached garage could be converted into a small granny suite.
TOGETHER BUT APART
With some clever planning and creative interior design ideas, you can create a home where there is connectivity in the house and communal areas, but where everyone can also enjoy a little privacy.