A record 64 million Americans now live in multigenerational homes, as found by Pew Research. This is the case among nearly all racial groups, with numbers increasing consistently since the Great Recession of 2007-2009. The nature of multigenerational homes has changed markedly over the past few years, with young adults being the age group most likely to live this way (previously, the largest group comprised adults aged 85 and over). If you live in a home with your children and your parents, or you think that over the years, your home may need to be transformed into a multigenerational one, keep the following considerations in mind.
Older adults require specific home features that others will hardly notice, but which are key to their health and wellbeing. Modifications that won’t interfere with the beauty and comfort of your home but will definitely reduce the chances of injury include ramps for wheelchairs; grab rails in seniors’ bedrooms, bathrooms, and other necessary spaces; and wider doorways. Design a home that is not too ‘busy’ or filled with clutter (or small carpets or rugs) as these can cause seniors to trip or fall. One of the most important modifications you may need to make involves the bathroom. Baths are a big fall risk and should ideally be replaced with walk-in showers. Slip-resistant flooring should be used to reduce the risk of injuries.
Embracing Smart Home Features
Home automation makes life easier, safer, more practical, and more fun for all generations. Smart home technology enables you to program heating and cooling; utilize voice control to give commands to devices such as kettles, window shades, and thermostats; and use remote controls to operate lights. These can all be highly useful for seniors who may have limited mobility. It also enables you to ensure that all home dwellers are comfortable. For instance, you can pre-cool your home on the hottest days of the year, using your smartphone to do so. Smart fridges can also help you take note of food expiration dates.
Creating Private Spaces
If your home is large enough, try to give family members their own space. Teens, for instance, may enjoy gaming, listening to music, or having friends over and they should ideally have a room or area in which they can feel free to do so. If you have a spare room, consider converting it into a den, adding features your children will love. These can include an entertainment system, a food zone (such as a ‘bar’ with stools where kids can enjoy snacks), and decorative elements that reflect their hobbies and style. Seniors, meanwhile, may enjoy having a comfortable space where they can read, partake in creative hobbies or do activities such as yoga, and bask in a little sunlight. If you have a patio, this might be an ideal space for you and your parents to enjoy a little quiet time and the calming effect of nature. An inviting wooden table, comfortable chairs, and a sofa can all make the space ideal for outdoor lunches and chats on sunny days. If you have a large garden, a gazebo is a perfect spot to read, work out, and listen to music.
Around 64 million Americans now live in multigenerational homes. If you are thinking of turning your home into a multigenerational one, let safety hold sway. Invest in the renovation of spaces such as bathrooms, to reduce the likelihood of falls and injuries. Finally, try to give everyone a space in which they can enjoy their hobbies and simply “be.”
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