MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS: MAKING THEM WORK FOR EVERYONE

The number of people living in multigenerational households has continued to rise, even though the recession is well over. In fact, many reports suggest that approximately 20% of the U.S. population now lives with two or more generations under the same roof.

This bedroom incorporates loads of natural light, a soft headboard and no footboard for the best of aging in place. This bedroom incorporates loads of natural light, a soft headboard and no footboard for the best of aging in place.

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There are many reasons why Americans choose multigenerational housing, ranging from personal lifestyle choice to economic necessity. Another reason includes the fact that people are living longer and choose to age in place, avoiding the nursing home.

Whatever the reason, there are key issues to consider when setting up the interior of the home to make sure the furnishings work for everyone living there. Trends in multigenerational homes include first-floor master suites and dual master suites, nanny suites, second kitchens, separate entrances, and private spaces for each generation. And just as important as including those spaces is the way that they are designed. Both will be highlighted in the reNEWable Living Home, the BUILDER concept home project that is an initiative of Meritage Homes and BSB Design.

Design for Safety and Comfort
Good multigenerational design takes into consideration the key elements of universal design, making it easier for someone to age in place. It’s probably best to get rid of small throw rugs to avoid trips and falls with aging parents, or use carpet tape to tape down the corners for areas that need a rug.

Clear paths, round tables and soft edges make this a safer living enviroment for all occupants. Clear paths, round tables and soft edges make this a safer living enviroment for all occupants.

It should be easy to get in and out of all chairs in the home. Factor in the size of the people that will be using the space. Use pillows for the chairs to add comfort and support when needed and make sure the texture of the pillows is soft. Tables that are round or have rounded edges should also be used to reduce the potential of injury to the elderly or young child. In fact, it would be wise to avoid glass tabletops due to the possibility of injury due to glass breakage.

Beds that have upholstered headboards provide more comfortable surfaces in the event of a slip and fall. Avoid bed footboards for the elderly and youth due to the possibility of hitting their head on the hard surface. Above all, avoid overcrowding a room with too much furniture and never place furniture near the exits of the room, as it creates trip hazards.

The right combination of indoor and outdoor lighting helps aging residents. The right combination of indoor and outdoor lighting helps aging residents. Elderly eyes need every possible advantage, so good lighting is very important. The house design should allow for adequate natural light, along with the right amount of artificial light. Not only is the right amount of light important, but smart home automation is key to making it easy to use for a toddler or an elderly parent.

In the interior design, it’s important to make sure lamps are not in danger of falling. The design should include outlets at the right locations so that no lighting would require an extension cord. Dogs like to chew on extension cords, creating a fire hazard, and they are a tripping hazard for elderly adults and young children.

Work in Storage at Every Opportunity
Storage is very important, considering that there will be a variety of different hobbies and pastimes to accommodate in the household. Make sure there is adequate storage for everyone. Shelves, bookcases, credenzas, and other furniture pieces can be used, along with closet storage.

Whether the residents of the multigenerational household are young or old, or more typically a combination of both, the need for multigenerational housing is expected to increase. Come visit the reNEWable Living Home and see the next trends in multigenerational in January 2018 in Orlando, and watch the progress online now here: www.builderonline.com/renewable.

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