While multigenerational families sharing a home is common nowadays, finding a home that works for everyone is a little trickier. If you're searching for the perfect house to share with both young children and aging parents, you need to consider a variety of potentialities.
While completely mobile now, in the future your parents might need built in aides to negotiate stairs, utilize a wheelchair or walker, maintain their balance, or get in and out of the tub. If you have very young children, maneuvering strollers and car seats in and out of your home benefit from some extra planning too.
Let your real estate professional know who will be living in the home. Address important issues during your search that might save costly future remodeling:
- Your search should include a home with at least one bedroom at ground level. As your parents age, negotiating stairs becomes more difficult. A ground-floor room also allows space for a nanny or live-in aide.
- Make sure that at least one outside entry door includes a threshold ramp, and can be accessed without stairs. Entryways with shallow steps may accommodate a wheelchair ramp or ease stroller access. Bedroom, bathroom and family area doorways at least 32 inches wide to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, and 36 inches wide if the chair needs to turn to enter or exit the room. If the door's maximum opening is 90 degrees (i.e. against a wall), be sure to use the larger door size.
- If hallways are at least 42 inches wide they can accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. A handrails on both sides of the hallway can simplify movement for your young one learning to walk and your elder one's comfort in moving around.
In addition to doorways and halls, the most difficult room to accommodate both younger and older residents is the bathroom. A home with at least two bathrooms can accommodate the different needs of your household.
- For a senior, the bathroom should have a comfort-height or ADA compliant toilet, with a grab bar (not a towel bar), but younger family members may need a stool in order to use the higher toilet.
- A walk-in shower simplifies bathing for a senior, while children often need a tub.
- Faucet, door, and cabinet knobs often are difficult for both older and younger family members and can be replaced with a single handle or touchless Round doorknobs should be replaced with a lever-style knob. Change the friction pull cabinet closers for modern magnetic or soft-close styles.
Sometimes, you can't find a home that can accommodate your families needs. You may need financial help to remodel or update a home for a disabled or elderly family member. Several government agencies fund grants that may help cover renovation expenses, or the cost of equipment and supplies required to make a house fully accessible for your loved one.
Be sure to inform us, your real estate professional, about your accommodation needs at the outset of your home search. We will focus on the homes that best meet the needs of all those living in the home.
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