Make Home a Haven for In-Laws, Aging in Place

Madeline Pillow
Written by Madeline Pillow
Updated October 19, 2015
Living room furniture sits just off a kitchen area in a suite.
An in-law suite can take many forms depending on your home and the needs of your in-law. Maintaining both independence and privacy is important.
Photo courtesy of Moss Building & Design

Plan ahead for your own future or for integrating your parents or in-laws into your home.

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As they face the prospect of caring for aging parents, or look ahead to how they will be able to continue living in their house as they age, many homeowners are re-evaluating their houses and choosing to remodel as they consider aging in place. Aging in place means that a homeowner can continue to live independently, making modifications to ensure mobility and comfort in the years to come.

Aging in place is a concept that homeowners are embracing even when moving into a new home, looking ahead to determine how the house will meet their needs as they get older.

In-law suites with style

The growing popularity of in-law suites in homes is one aspect of aging in place that allows homeowners to modify their homes to match their needs in terms of utility and space. When adding an in-law suite, it’s important to remember that style doesn’t have to fall by the wayside.

Whether you are looking to modify your home for your needs or in-laws, aging in place doesn’t have to mean moving to a home that is smaller, or on one level. There are alternatives that can be incorporated if stairs become too difficult, such as a chair lift. You also can consider other entrances that may be more accessible, such as a garage entry.

An in-law suite can take many forms depending on your home and the needs of your in-law. Two important elements that should be included are independence and privacy, which need to be in place for every person in the household.

Balancing privacy and family time

In an in-law suite addition in Springfield, Virginia, the homeowners wanted to create a room with an adjoining bathroom because the stairs were difficult to manage. This in-law suite addition was on the other side of the house from the rest of the bedrooms. Family time centered on the communal kitchen, which tied in some of the mother’s home decor in the living area and her love of ice cream with the addition of an ice cream parlor-inspired bar in the kitchen.

Other options include designating separate floors for the home’s family and the in-laws. This allows for additional privacy and the feeling of independence. A finished basement can become a great area for an in-law suite because it can offer the possibility of a separate kitchenette as well as entrance.

A project in Fairfax, Virginia, utilized this idea. In this instance, the in-laws wanted to give their family the run of the home, and took up residence in a newly created upstairs floor where they had an apartment that included a kitchenette, living room area, two full bathrooms and a sitting area.

With the ideas of independence and privacy in mind, you can ensure that your home can comfortably house additional family members and accommodate your needs in the years to come.

Are you considering aging in place or remodeling to accomodate parents? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comments section!

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on Nov. 24, 2014.

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As of Oct. 19, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.

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