A large number of baby boomers are reaching the point where their children have grown up and moved out of the house. Though the transition from full house to empty nest can be filled with excitement, it can also be filled with stress. Among numerous questions that may come to mind, you might be wondering if this is an opportunity to move and downsize to a smaller, more manageable home. Or perhaps you want to stay in your current home and repurpose the extra space.
The answers to these questions depend on your unique circumstances. But for those who decide to stay put—at least for the time being—now is a great time to begin considering which, if any, modifications your home may require to better suit your needs as you get older.
Rather than waiting until an incident occurs, be proactive about making alterations to your home that will help you avoid potential injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are planning to “age in place.”
Prioritize Your Wish List
With the kids out of the house and more free time on your hands, you might have the urge to dive right in and tackle many of the DIY projects on your list. But first, take another look at the rooms in your house to determine which ones fit your new lifestyle, and which ones need some work. Some areas of the home might only need minor changes. Others might need to be repurposed altogether. Take the time to create a general plan and prioritize the items on your list.
Focus on Improving Livability
Many empty nesters hire expert remodelers to adapt their home to make it easy to use and maintain. Stairs can sometimes become a problem, but moving the master bedroom and the laundry room to the ground floor can be part of a solution. Doing so can give home owners many more years in the home they love without a sense of urgency to move to a one-story home. Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age.
Expand Your Space
Depending on the age of your home, you may find that, for example, your master bedroom or bath is too small for comfort. Look for opportunities to expand those rooms into adjacent, unused or underutilized spaces. A remodeling professional is the best person to help you determine what your options are to build your dream master bathroom or bedroom. They can also help you find ways to create a more open floorplan that is easier to navigate for those with mobility concerns. Incorporating these changes will not only create a home that suits a changing lifestyle, they also may increase the value of your home when you eventually decide it’s time sell.