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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, February 10, 2017

Baby Boomers’ guide to occupying an empty nest




Baby boomers across the Chattanooga area are reaching the point that their children have grown up and moved out of the house or are making plans in that direction.

Though the transition from full house to empty nest can be exciting, it can also be stressful.

You might be wondering if this is an opportunity to move and downsize to a smaller, more manageable home.

Or, perhaps you want to stay in your current home and repurpose the extra space.

The answers to these questions depend on your unique circumstances.

But for those who decide to stay put – at least for the time being – now is a great time to begin considering which, if any, modifications your home might require to better suit your needs as you grow older and, perhaps, become less mobile.

Rather than waiting until your nest is empty, be proactive about making alterations to your home to make it more comfortable for years down the road.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning to “age in place.”

Prioritize your wish list

With the kids out of the house and more free time on your hands, you might have the urge to dive right in and tackle many of the DIY projects on your list.

But first, take another look at the rooms in your house to determine which ones fit your new lifestyle, and which ones need some work.

Some areas of the home might only need minor changes. Others might need to be repurposed altogether. Take the time to create a general plan and prioritize the items on your list.

Focus on improving livability

Many empty nesters hire expert remodelers to adapt their home to make it easy to use and maintain.

Stairs can sometimes become a problem, but moving the master bedroom and the laundry room to the ground floor can be part of a solution.

Doing so can give home owners many more years in the home they love without a sense of urgency to move to a one-story home.

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 the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age.

Expand your space

Depending on the age of your home, you might find that your master bedroom or bath is too small for comfort.

Look for opportunities to expand those rooms into adjacent, unused or underutilized spaces.

A remodeling professional is the best person to help you determine what your options are to build your dream master bathroom or bedroom.

They can also help you find ways to create a more open floor plan that’s easier to navigate for those with mobility concerns.

Incorporating these changes will not only create a home that suits a changing lifestyle, they also might increase the value of your home when you eventually decide it’s time sell.

For more a list of professional remodelers in the Chattanooga area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.