5 Tips for Multigenerational Living
It can be tough going for multigenerational households, but it doesn't have to be. Whether its elderly parents spending their golden years with their grown children or young adults moving back into their parents' house, it's crucial to account for everyone's needs to ensure a smooth transition.
1) Everyone needs personal space. A home with a traditional mother-in-law suite is a great option for either an aging parent or a grown child, and so is the more contemporary version, a complete locked-off living space with its own kitchenette, bathroom and living areas, similar to an apartment. Everyone needs privacy sometimes, and that goes double when there are lots of people sharing a relatively small space, which can cause tension. If a separate suite or apartment isn't feasible, consider setting some clear boundaries around different areas of the house to ensure everyone maintains some level of independence and privacy.
2) Bring in a certified expert for access and maneuverability concerns. If your home has a welcoming floor plan, someone who has mobility issues, consider bringing in someone with relevant professional designations, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Certified Graduate Remodeler, or Graduate Master Builder. These experts can assess your home and determine whether you need any extra supports to help your loved one navigate the house safely. It could be as easy as a few bath and shower grab bars or replacing doorknobs with lever handles. Low-pile carpet is another common recommendation - it's easier and safer for walkers and wheelchairs, and as a bonus, it's easier to clean.
3) Embrace universal design concepts. Universal design is a framework for creating spaces that are accessible to the broadest possible spectrum of people, making it a perfect fit for multigenerational households that include a person with disabilities or an older person who may later develop issues with vision or mobility. In a nutshell, universal design is intended to create buildings with a clear line of sight to any important elements, a comfortable reach to any component regardless of whether the user is sitting or standing, enough space to maneuver with assistive devices or the assistance of a second person, minimal physical effort, etc. Discuss the concepts with your remodeler and keep them in mind when you're remodeling the home and choosing appliances. Ahmann Design company offers a wide array of stock house plans to choose from.
4) Check with your town and neighborhood before diving too deep into planning. Some municipalities don't allow two full kitchens in the same house, for example, but would permit a kitchenette with less expansive cooking capabilities. You may be able to get a variance for some projects that otherwise wouldn't be permitted, but that presents another layer of red tape that you'll have to cut through, so be sure to loop in local officials early.
5) Be realistic about your budget. It's easy to get carried away with the multitude of layout options and creative solutions for giving everyone their own space, but at the end of the day, you're still paying for it. Have two budget numbers in mind - the amount you expect to spend and the absolute maximum you could spend and still afford the project, which will give you some mental wiggle room in case something ends up costing more than you predicted. Having a good handle on your budget will also help designers guide you toward options that both satisfy your needs and fit your budget. If you plan to sell your home later, be mindful of the resale value and balance that with the investment you're making now. It can be helpful to ask a realtor about additions or expansions to make sure the value of your home is going up, not down.
A custom home that truly embraces multigenerational living is a home that caters to everyone's need for privacy, independence and security while creating a comfortable place for family to grow closer than ever. House plans created specifically for multigenerational homes are available for a wide variety of property sizes and price points, so don't be afraid to investigate - a dream home for your whole family is out there.