Are Mom and Dad Moving In? It Can Be a Good Thing
Multi-generational dwellings used to be common, and in many countries and cultures it still is. If relations are good, bringing the parents into your everyday home life can have many benefits. Both generations can save money on mortgage and rent, (grand) parents are less lonely and can help with childcare and/or other household duties, and kids/homeowners can keep an eye on their ageing parents.
It also turns out that homes with the space and amenities for additional family members have a higher market value than others. The Wall Street Journal recently noted that in-law units are one of the hottest home features today. In fact, these spaces are so mainstream they’ve been given an official name – accessory-dwelling units.
The College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley published a study in 2011 highlighting the benefits of these “self-contained, smaller living units on the lot of a single-family home,” either attached (above the garage, or in the basement) or if space allows, an independent cottage or carriage house. It touted a myriad of social, economic, and environmental benefits – both for homeowners and the community.
Regardless of how and where parents are brought into the home, there are steps to take to ensure everyone’s continued happiness and safety. In addition to clarifying financial matters and responsibilities up front (rent, caretaking, babysitting), the home should be made senior friendly. Make them safe and comfortable with non-slip rugs, sturdy railings, grab bars in the restroom, or widening doorways for walkers or wheelchairs. Or you may need to give them extra space to practice yoga or bring in a treadmill. Whatever their energy and physical abilities, make the space work for them.
Once functionality is addressed, look at the surroundings. Does the décor appeal to them? Give them a space and perhaps a little input into the home’s personality.