Submitted by Sara Majzun, President, North Coast Building Industry Association (NCBIA)

The growth of modern multigenerational households – which once began as a fall-out from millennials moving back home during the Great Recession – shows no signs of slowing down. Households are now choosing this option to address the needs of other generations as well, including health issues of aging parents and child care concerns of working parents.

The latest numbers from the Pew Institute show a record 60.6 million people lived in multigenerational homes in 2014. That means nearly 20% of the U.S. population lives in households consisting of two or more adult generations.

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and in suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. Other homes may include a shared living space but have multiple master bedrooms with in suite bathrooms.

Builders also frequently include “universal design” features and products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include wider hallways, walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or mobility level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals.

To learn more about multigenerational home plans or to find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist contact the NCBIA.

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