Your parents raised and supported you all your life, and now as they get older, you may be feeling the need to do more for them. Allowing them to live entirely on their own may not seem like a great option, especially if they’ve had minor falls or are experiencing forgetfulness about appliances like the stove. On the other hand, your spouse might not be ready to empty out the study so your parents can live under your roof.
Thankfully, there’s a great solution that allows your parents to still have independence while also keeping them close at hand should they need assistance. If you have the room in your backyard, consider building a “granny flat.” A granny flat is usually a converted area of a single-family home—often in an unattached garage—that acts as a living space for one or two aging parents. Here are five tips to help you get started on your parent’s new home.
Call in the professionals.
You’ve already got a lot on your hands raising your own family and taking care of your parents. If designing and building a granny flat doesn’t sound like a fun project for you to do on the weekends—or if there are safety reasons it needs to be completed quickly—hire a team to help you out.
If you’re living that SoCal life, Levi Construction can help you conceptualize, design, and build an ADU in Los Angeles. There’s more that goes into building an accessory dwelling unit than you might think. For example, navigating permits and regulations. With a team of professionals, they’ll be able to guide you through that process, so that everything’s legal and up to code. Levi Construction specializes in detached, attached, and internal ADUs, as well as garage conversions. Whatever will work best for you and your family, they’ll be able to help.
Install durable and stylish flooring.
As you get older and your balance and vision start to go, accidents are more prone to happen. One minute you’re pouring pasta sauce into your spaghetti, and the next it’s all over the floor. The flooring in your “granny flat” should be able to be easily cleaned with very little maintenance.
For a floor that still looks nice and is simple to take care of, consider vinyl floor installation. If you like the look of hardwood or other designs, you can have the best of both worlds.
Vinyl flooring comes in a myriad of prints to give you the look of stone, wood, or something a little more adventurous. Your parents don’t need to sacrifice aesthetics for convenience.
Take stairs out of the equation.
According to Forbes, once people reach their eighties, “more than four of ten have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Stairs are huge safety concerns for an aging parent. If possible, rid the space you’re converting into a “granny flat” of stairs. If a step is needed to enter the unit, try to or convert it into a ramp.
Fire safety comes first.
Being able to independently cook is probably something that makes your parents feel like they still have some say in their lives and decisions. It’s important that your “granny flat” has at least a small kitchen, so they can practice some independence. If you’re worried they may forget that the stove is on, there are stove turn-off devices that will help prevent an accidental fire. Have one of these devices installed with an unobstructed view of the stove user for added security.
Have the conversation early.
There’s no use making a “granny flat” if it’s only going to become a point of contention with your parent. Many elderly people, understandably, want to stay in their homes as long as possible. If you allow them to be a part of the building process, it might feel more like an exciting opportunity than a loss of independence. Tread lightly, have empathy, and help them make the best decision for everyone.