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By Christopher Behan
As parents or in-laws age, it may become difficult for them to care for themselves. Many people choose to have their elderly relatives move into their homes, in order to provide better supervision and care. This can place a strain on the relationship for both sides, with homeowners feeling that their parents are invading their space and older parents struggling with their loss of independence. To help mitigate this problem, remodeling a basement to create an independent living space is an excellent idea. If youre considering creating this separate apartment in your home, there are several things youll want to account for when setting it up.
As people age, regulating body temperature to stay warm becomes more difficult, which is one reason why locations like Florida and the Southwest have become popular retirement destinations. Immune systems and respiratory system also become less effective, making humidity-induced illnesses like pneumonia more perilous. As basements often become cold and/or humid, its important to use a finishing system that will maintain an appropriate environment to promote your loved ones health. Make sure you have an adequate sump system, your basement is properly sealed and that you use mold-resistant building materials to help control moisture and prevent respiratory illness. Cold can also be staved off by ensuring your basement is properly insulated, installing energy efficient windows and putting the room on a separate thermostat from the main areas of your home.
Another concern when moving an aging family member into a basement apartment is the climb. Stairs can be difficult to navigate with stiffer joints and muscle loss, so additional steps should be taken to make the climb easier for your elderly relative. If possible, install a stair case with smaller rises between steps and wider treads as this will make it easier to maintain a stable footing. Having properly maintained, sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairs will also aid your family member in navigating stairs. A few additional steps you can take include, installing lighting over the stair case, adding anti-slip coatings to stair treads and avoiding uneven or curved stair designs. Though more costly, there are also chair lifts and home elevators available, which may be necessary for anyone wheelchair-bound or otherwise unable to climb stairs.
While these are the most important features of your basement remodeling project, there are some other finishing touches you may want to consider adding to improve the quality of life for your basements new resident. In the bathroom, use an anti-slip flooring material, install grab bars along the walls and consider installing a low-threshold shower or walk-in tub. If youre installing a kitchenette, make sure all cabinets can be easily reached without the need of a stool. Finally, consider making a special healing room, where your relative can keep all the medical equipment they need for home treatments and that has a soothing dcor where they can relax.
Though caring for an aging relative is not the easiest of task, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime for both parties. Remodeling your basement into an apartment is a great way to make this transition easier, allowing you to focus on enjoying each others company while preserving your senses of independence.
About the Author: Christopher Behan is a professional writer specializing in the home improvement industry. His writing focuses on
, replacement windows, sunrooms, and other home remodeling products and services, and his work has been featured on multiple home improvement websites.