Linda Cates is an experienced physical therapist in her mid-forties. She and her husband are remodeling their spacious house, adding a downstairs bedroom and bath they may never need.
Linda’s reasons are prescient: “I regularly see people who need to modify their homes because of long-term medical issues, and it causes them a lot of anxiety because it’s very costly. My husband and I also have elderly parents and other people who visit, and we want our accommodations to be accessible. Then too, I see people who have bad accidents and they can’t access upstairs bedrooms. They try to make do with a bedroom downstairs, but there is often a need for a downstairs bathroom. This kind of thing can be very stressful, particularly if it’s a long-term issue.”
With such a distressed economy, now may not be the time, but the Cateses also think their plan has a financial upside. Builders and real estate agents agree that houses with downstairs bedrooms and bathrooms are very marketable.
Our immediate gratification culture doesn’t really allow for this kind of thinking; denial is pervasive. Still, it’s a lot better to “have it and not need it,” than to “need it and not have it.” Whether buying or remodeling, it makes sense to be proactive about access.
When better economic times prevail, I will write articles about these issues. My wife has multiple sclerosis. I’ve “been there, done that.”
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