When you have your senior in-laws move in with you, the idea of trying to create their private area can be challenging. It may be done by combining two rooms on the first floor such as an unused bedroom and dining room. Or it could be done by converting a bedroom and enclosing a back porch. Go over your plans though with a reputable contractor helps. But whatever combination you come up with, be sure to include a kitchen of some kind.
What kind of kitchen?
If you have limited space, you don’t have to put in a full-fledged kitchen. You can have a small apartment sized refrigerator, a sink, counter space, a pantry for canned goods and a microwave here. It can be an essential kitchen area without needing much space. A small table with folding sections can be used, or comfortable stools for a counter for eating instead of a larger dining room set too.
Another option is going with a larger kitchen area. Your in-laws may be healthy now, but what happens when they get older; they may need to be in wheelchairs? You need to be sure that the openings to the kitchen have at least 32 inches of space then which is open for a wheelchair to pass through the doors with open wheelchair channels to move to areas. Additionally, in the kitchen area, there needs to be space of at least 60 inches around the appliances so that a wheelchair can be turned around for access.
Also, reachable counters is something to think about too. For a person who is standing, a counter is about 36 inches high, but if the individual is in a wheel chair, then it should be 28-32 inches high. You can put the countertops in now if your in-laws are mobile at 36 inches and then plan on having them lowered if necessary though. If you tell your professional contractor your concerns, he can make allowances for having to adjust them in the future.
Another idea would be to install non-slip flooring. This way your in-laws won’t slip and fall when walking, using a walker, or if they’re in a wheelchair. Also, placing cabinets a little lower as well as a Lazy Susan on the shelves will make it easier for reaching things.
If you have your in-laws move in, an area that they can all their own will make it easier on everyone.