By Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder, Collins Design-Build, Inc.
Many baby boomers are finally saying goodbye to their adult children, who are moving out of the house and starting the next chapter in their lives. While some empty nesters are excited about this new phase, it can be a stressful time for others as they deal with this time of transition in their lives.
When your kids move out and you’re faced with an empty nest, lots of questions come to mind. Should you move and downsize? If you stay, how should you use the kids’ rooms? What other changes should you make as you get older?
If you’ve made the decision to stay in your home – at least for now – it’s time to figure out how your house can work better for you in this the next chapter of your life.
Focus on Small DIY Jobs
With the kids out of the house, you may be surprised at how much free time you have. Use this time to tackle some of those home renovation jobs that have been on your to-do list for a while. Before you begin any project, however, look at your house – room by room – with a fresh set of eyes. Now that your house doesn’t need to accommodate a growing family, how do you want to use each of the rooms to fit your new lifestyle? Perhaps the mudroom is no longer needed, but a craft room has always been on your wish list. Now you can focus on making those changes.
Create a Home Office
You may be an empty nester, but you are still a very active member of the workforce. An extra bedroom or den previously used for family activities would be a great place to turn into a home office. Home offices are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity with more people telecommuting or running their own businesses from their house.
Expand Your Space
Depending on the age of your home, you may find that your master bedroom or bath is too small for comfort. Expand into space that isn’t being used to build the master bath of your dreams or to create a separate seating or dressing area in your bedroom.
Incorporating these changes will not only create a home that suits your new lifestyle, they also may increase the value of your home when you decide to finally sell.
Many empty nesters hire expert remodelers to adapt their home to make it easy to use and maintain. Stairs often become a problem, but moving the master bedroom and the laundry room to the ground floor can be part of a solution that gives home owners many more years in the home they love.
Building professionals, like us, 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 ability level. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects and health care professionals.