In lieu of retirement communities or assisted living, more and more seniors are moving in with their children. It makes sense for a lot of reasons: being close to family, cost savings, much easier to care for and less need to worry about aging parents.
There are some key elements to keep in mind if you are making the leap of creating an in-law suite to insure that you provide privacy and comfort while also keeping them connected. This will require some balance and creativity to manage organization, convenience and the interior design aspect. Here are things to remember.
Separate but Together- In order to feel private the in-law suite will need to feel private by having some separation from the rest of the home . But you don’t want them to feel like you’ve created the Great Wall of China to keep them away. If you have a basement or garage that can be converted that is optimal. If you are actually adding an addition, it is a good idea to create their own private entrance that allows them to come and go without having to access the rest of the home.
The family that eats together stays together – unless the in-laws start to feel like the hired help, cooking and cleaning up after the family on a regular basis. Adding a kitchen or even a smaller kitchenette with a small sink, refrigerator, small counter and stove is a great idea. This gives the family options- they can eat with you or choose to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in their own space. Togetherness is important but can become too much of a good thing without the option to enjoy your own solitude from time to time.
GO in Peace – a private bathroom is essential. Having their own bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower or tub/shower combo will help contribute to their sense of privacy and being in their own home.
Retreat… to your private retreat – Include space to unwind and relax in your in-law suite. Making them truly feel at home will make the experience better for them and you. You don’t need to have a lot of extra space, just a nice sitting area that isn’t their bedroom with comfy chairs, a TV and small table.
Small laundry closet– you don’t have to add a fully laundry room but if you have space simply include a laundry closet with a compact stacked washer & dryer. This takes up minimal space but makes life easier for everyone – not only will this give the in-laws their own laundry space, but you’ll have less laundry on your plate too!
The bottom line is this – make the in-laws feel at home.