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Pandemic puts focus on family space

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The American household is evolving. Traditional family households with parents and children have transformed into a mix of various generations. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the growth of multigenerational households, including adults with so-called “boomerang” children living at home after college, or aging parents living with them rather than in assisted living facilities.


While each household has its personal reasons for opting for a multigenerational structure, it’s a trend growing across cultures. One in five Americans live in a multigenerational household, according to the Pew Research Center, which defines multigenerational living as a home that includes two or more adult generations, or including grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25. As quarantine and social-distancing impacts continue, the number of families choosing multigenerational living is poised to grow.


As the pandemic has shifted how a home functions in multiple ways, more people are putting time into home improvement projects that help a household function well for everyone who lives there. This is particularly important for people transitioning to multigenerational households. Consider three steps to help improve multigenerational living:


Step 1: Expand living space


When additional people are added to a household, it’s amazing how what used to feel like ample space can suddenly seem very cramped. Space becomes a premium and with lack of adequate space to read, watch TV or simply sit and rest, home stress levels can rise fast. That’s why you may want to consider ways to add common spaces, or transform the space you do have to accommodate more people.


Finishing a basement is a smart option if you have the financial means. You might also finish attic spaces or add a shed with seating and electricity. Stylish room partitions or curtains can provide privacy and the feeling of a room if you don’t have money to invest in a larger home improvement project. Finally, consider refreshing outdoor spaces with seating spots grouped throughout the yard to expand the property’s livable space and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.


Step 2: Add a bathroom without costly demolition


When the number of people increases in a home, the bathroom becomes a hot commodity. Whether it’s to put a bathroom closer to an aging parent’s bedroom or simply add a powder room in a nontraditional location to expand resources, consider affordable options such as macerating toilets and drain pumps. Above-floor plumbing options allow you to add a bathroom where no conventional, below-floor plumbing exists, so there’s no need to break through concrete floors and compromise a home’s integrity.


Step 3: Add and enhance entryways


With more people coming and going, entryways can become chaotic places in a home. If possible, consider refining the entry points to accommodate increased traffic and contain clutter. You may want to add benches and cubbies for each household member’s personal items to help contain messes and prevent tripping hazards. Proper lighting, stable hooks and grab bars are also useful additions to accommodate multigenerational living.


Although you have a main entryway, you might also have other points of entry such as from the garage, the side or back of the home.


By thinking strategically and making a few smart improvements, you can update your home so that it is comfortable for many people for many years to come.


Courtesy of Brandpoint


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020