Looking after your children and parents under the same roof? Here are some easy floor and decor home improvements to make your life simpler in multigenerational homes!
The ‘sandwich generation’; that’s what it’s called when you still have kids living at home needing attention, and your parents get to that age where they are going to need extra care as well. It is estimated that almost a quarter of all families in North America are in this position so it’s likely that you are, or you know someone who is.
Having adult parents move in with you is a big step. You can start by making sure that your home is accessible, safe, and comfortable for them while still meeting the needs of your children, and of course yourself! Here are a 5 things to keep in mind when you start:
Flooring is probably the biggest change you will have to make in your home. Consider cork or rubber flooring, especially in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, instead of hard linoleum. Cork and rubber floors are comfortable to walk on, non-slippery, and can help with impacts if anything – or anyone – falls. They are also both easy to clean.
In bedrooms and living areas, take a look at what flooring you have there. If it is hardwood consider adding some rugs or carpeting. But be sure that your carpet is not too thick, and ensure rugs are secured to the floor and are not a tripping hazard.
Small rugs and welcome mats can be especially dangerous slip hazards and should be removed if they are not secure underfoot. You may consider getting a plastic gripping mat for any stairs you have in your home to ensure unsteady senior feet, and little running feet, grip it properly, and no one falls down the stairs.
You are bound to be busy looking after your family so cleaning shouldn’t be a challenge! Choose a laminate, or other, easy clean, smooth surface for as many counters as you can. Avoid bumpy or gritty surfaces for any tabletops as these are generally a little more difficult to clean – and keep clean. Glass and stainless steel may look very nice and modern, but they show all the fingerprints and smudges and typically require extra care.
For the sake of your children, and preventing any head bonks especially, but also in case of any falls – be sure to round the corners on any counters, or tables – or at least secure the edges with some padding.
Ensure all areas of your home, especially hallways and stairwells, are properly lighted. Consider lower, bigger, simple-push light switches so they are easy to find, and try to light a hallway path right into the bathroom from all bedrooms.
Secure handrails are essential! Even with secure flooring, taking a tumble down the stairs is still a possibility so make sure everyone in the family hangs on. Installing small hand rails in the bathroom can also help the young, and older, family members get in and out of the tub safely.
The most important thing with décor is to ensure there is an easy path to get in and out of each room. Remove any excess furniture and turn chairs so they are easy to get in and out of.
Another décor-related issue to consider is everyone’s tastes. Your young family may enjoy bright colors, but your elderly relative may not. Some elderly people find too much color and clutter hard on the eyes and on concentration. So, your children’s wall of art may need to be moved into your room, or somewhere else where it is contained. You may have to keep common areas a neutral color, and keep the brighter tones to your, and your children’s, bedrooms.
Sit down as a family to discuss everyone’s décor preferences, and allow everyone to contribute something, so everyone feels comfortable and happy in their home.
Your family life
Do you have multiple generations living in your home? Let us know how you transformed your home to support everyone, and of any problems, and joys, you have all being under one roof.