Keller Williams Realty,Brevard

Multi-Generational Living

by Maria "Action" Jackson 04/21/2019

Older and younger family members living in one home is the norm today. If you’re looking for a house to share with your aging parents, remember that while they are still mobile now, there may be a time when they will need help walking, maintaining their balance, negotiating stairs, utilizing a walker or wheelchair, or assistance entering or exiting a bath. 

Inform your real estate agent of your needs and pay attention to essential requirements when multi-generational house-hunting to save yourself costly remodeling in the future:

Doors and hallways

All entry doors, bedroom doors, bathroom doors and those to all family rooms need to be a width of at least 32 inches adequately to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. If a chair needs to turn to enter or exit the chamber, a door 36 inches wide is required. When the doorway's maximum opening is at 90 degrees (that is it opens against a wall), use the larger door size.

Hallways need to be at least 42 inches wide so that both wheelchairs and walkers have room to maneuver. Add handrails along both sides of the hall, when possible.

Ramps

One external entry door, minimum, must include a threshold ramp. It should be accessible without exterior stairs. Even entryways that have shallow steps should be able to accommodate a wheelchair ramp if necessary.

Bedrooms and baths

Search for a house with at least one ground floor bedroom. While adding elevators or stairlifts are possible, they add considerable expense to your home’s alterations.

Bathroom modifications are expensive, too, so initially, look for a walk-in shower to simplify the process. Consider remodeling one bathroom to include a walk-in bath if no accessible shower exists.

Your bathroom should have a comfort height or ADA compliant toilet, with grab bars (not towel bars), to ensure your older family-member can sit or stand easily. Even a small bathroom can be remodeled to be handicap accessible.

Consider your additional electrical needs. You’ll want easy access to power outlets for both personal and medical devices. Easily operated light switches are essential too. Since extension cords and trailing electrical cables can be trip and fall hazards, you’ll need plenty of outlets installed at reachable heights. Hire an electrician to add outlets above nightstands or consider lamps with built-in outlets.

Replace door, faucet, and cabinet knobs with levers. In lavatories, baths and shower stalls replaced knobs with single-handle or touchless options. Change out friction pull cabinet door and drawer closers for soft-close ones.

Homeowners may need financial assistance to remodel or update a home to accommodate their special needs or elderly family member. Some grants, funded by several government agencies, might cover construction or renovation costs, labor, and other expenses. 

Most of all, inform your real estate agent about all your home needs from the outset. Your agent then can focus on homes that meet your requirements, including providing for the needs of each generation that will live there.

About the Author
Author

Maria "Action" Jackson

Maria Jackson grew up in Germany, but the first time she saw Cocoa Beach’s surf and sand, she knew she was home. That date was December 24, 1983, and although she goes back to Germany to visit often, she has never regretted her decision to stay here permanently.

Maria worked in several fields over the next few years, but they all had some link to the real estate industry.  She finally realized that was the career she was looking for and in 2004 she obtained her real estate license.  In 2019 she joined Keller Williams (KW). “I’m pretty tech savvy,” she says, “and I liked that the KW app is so up to date with the latest in marketing tools and internet sales.  I love using Social Media including Facebook, Twitter and the DSRE app.  I believe it’s important to utilize every tool at my disposal to market my customer’s listings.” Maria recently closed on a $860,000 home and credits the marketing tools to her success.

She wakes up each morning excited about what the day will bring. “Every day is a new day, a new client, a new listing.  I love the variety of learning something new every day. I’m a really good communicator and even better at being able to see the whole picture, even when my client doesn’t. Sometimes clients think they want one thing but I can point something out to them and they will do a complete reversal. It’s my job to point out all the details that sometimes they don’t see.”

Maria, who is fluent in English and German, has worked extensively with local and international investors. Although she lives in the charming Canaveral Groves community, she manages listings and transactions throughout all of Brevard County.

Maria and her husband have three grown daughters and two grandsons. They love family get-togethers and spend as much time on the water as possible. Maria devotes her volunteer time at a local elementary school and has helped host fundraising benefits for local residents in need.

Maria’s feelings haven’t changed since that first day she set eyes on the beach; she continues her love affair with Cocoa Beach and the surrounding area and knows that she made the right decision in calling this new place home all those years ago.