Forget millennials and baby boomers. There is a new generation that needs our attention: the “sandwich” generation. A member of the sandwich generation is someone who is caring for an aging parent, while still raising children in the home. When it comes to home renovation, this group has a serious balancing act to contend with. How can you make a home accessible to an older adult while still making it functional for a young family?
First, it’s important to take stock of your situation. Ask yourself a few questions:
- How big is our lot?
- When does the project need to be completed?
- Where do you think is a good place to add-on or remodel?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want at the end of the project?
- How is your parents’ health and mobility?
If your parents are coming to live with you because they want to downsize, that can be a pretty simple fix. We can convert a garage into an in-law apartment or put on a small addition. Family members with medical needs require a more specialized approach. This could include expanding doorways and hallways to accommodate a wheelchair or remodeling a bathroom to include roll-in showers, grab bars, a bench or seat, as well as non-slip fall-preventing surfaces. Exterior renovations may include a ramp or an accessible parking solution like a carport near a side door.
Now that we’ve considered your parent’s needs- what about what your kids want? While it may seem like an extended holiday to have grandma or grandpa at home full-time, too much togetherness can be wearing. If at all possible, try not to include any children’s bedrooms in the remodeling project. That can lead to serious disruption and angst. Make sure to include them in the design process. Older children can often give us some fresh insight into how you use and live in the home.
And let’s not forget that trusted idiom, “good fences make good neighbors.” For more independent family members, ensuring that there is a separate entrance to their room is a great way to set up boundaries. That said, it is unlikely that you would be able to build a totally separate apartment on your property unless you had it re-zoned as a multi-family home.
Then, it’s time to get serious about the budget. Come up with a budget that everyone feels comfortable with before you start demolition. Are your parents contributing to the remodel or are you footing the bill alone? Having these conversations can be awkward, but not having them before starting a home renovation is generally a recipe for miscommunication and stress.
This is where a design-build firm can head off many issues from the beginning. We will work with you to meet your changing family’s needs and make your home work for everyone. Also, when you work with Blackline Renovations, you will get upfront an estimated timeline for the project, as well as a budget. All budgets are given as a lump-sum, so your cost will not change from the quoted amount unless you make changes or a hidden issue arises.
Adding more people to your house can be stressful, no matter how much you love them. With thoughtful planning, and even more patience, you can make this transition one to celebrate.
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