Retiring on a budget can bring added challenges both for the retiree and for the rest of the family. But the good news is that with a growing population of baby boomers facing this same dilemma, modern technology and home building offer an increasing variety of options you can take advantage of right on your own property.
If your parents are getting ready to retire, and you’re thinking about letting them live with you, here are three different living arrangements to help keep everyone in the household happy.
1. Mother-In-Law Suites
One of the more traditional methods of adding space for another adult family member is by extending the family home’s interior square footage with a “mother-in-law suite”. This self-contained section of rooms may be part of the house’s structure – usually separated from the family by a single connecting door -but it also boasts all the conveniences of having your own apartment, including its own outside entrance.
The mother-in-law suite can be as big as your budget and permits allow, and it can be completely customizable to the specifications of everyone involved. If you’re worried that you don’t have space to add a large extension to your home, consider converting some existing rooms into the separate space.
Many people immediately think of converting a garage or basement, but there are actually many ways to make use of unused parts of the house. Excellent candidates for conversion include large family rooms, covered porches or a pair of bedrooms with a connected bathroom.
2. Granny Pods
A so-called granny pod is a variation on the popular trend of tiny homes. This type of tiny home is quite compact – a mere 400 square feet or less – but contains all the necessary features of living on your own.
This generally means that it houses a bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom and a small sitting area. Granny pods are usually placed on the property of the other family members, which allows the parent and adult children to have separate spaces but be only yards from each other if anything is needed. Outdoor space can help mitigate the challenge of living in a tiny house.
The main difference between granny pods and traditional tiny houses is that the pods are designed to be fully accessible and only take up one floor. Doorways are usually built wide enough for a wheelchair or other mobility devices and there are no unnecessary elevation changes between rooms.
3. Guest Houses
If neither a mother-in-law suite nor a granny house seems like a good fit for your family, you can find a compromise by building a guest house or backyard cottage on the property. The primary advantage to starting fresh with a guest house is that you can design it to be completely different from the family home and therefore make it feel more like the elderly relative’s own space.
It may also be easier to rent out (either part time or full time) if your family situation changes later on. On the downside, local zoning laws may limit your ability to add a second residence to a property.
Unlike a tiny home style, a guest house can be made to feel brighter and more open. An experienced general contractor can help add design tricks like high ceilings and an open floor plan to maximize the visual space and useful square footage.
While any of these living arrangements will require an initial investment of time and money, the advantages of sharing costs and being able to care for an elderly relative in the comfort of their own home will surely make it all worthwhile in the long run.
If you need help thinking outside the box, talk with the experts at Patriot Construction today.