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Build a Detached Addition for Mom and Dad

January 5, 2017

Detached additions are becoming more popular all across the United States as the sandwich 
generation takes on the responsibility of raising their children and caring for their aging parents at 
the same time.



According to the AARP, 4.6 million parents were living with their children in 2011. That number 
was up 13.7 percent from 2008, and it continues to climb each year.

The reasons are many. Often, at least one parent is ill or infirm and needs frequent care. Another 
reason a parent might move in with their child is because their spouse has died and they have 
become lonely and depressed. And another reason is money.  

Elderly parents may not have budgeted well and may be having a hard time paying bills after 
retirement. Or the reverse is true — hard times, job loss, illness or divorce can leave a family 
struggling to keep up. Having grandma or grandpa move in helps pay the bills, plus it provides 
extra supervision for the children. 

A Detached Addition Means Independence 

Whatever the reason for your parent(s) moving in, know that what often works best is providing 
them their own space they can retreat to — something more than an extra bedroom. 
A detached addition provides the best of both worlds.  

Depending on the size of your lot, you may locate the addition on a quiet corner of your property; 
or, if you don’t have much space, put it right next to your home and connect it with a breezeway. 

Small and Simple for a Detached Addition 

Efficiency-style is the way to go with these types of in-law apartments. A small kitchenette and 
living gives them their own space without saddling them with a lot to take care of.  

Take your relatives’ health into consideration when planning your detached addition. Even if they 
are completely healthy now, as long as you are building from scratch, you may as well include 
handicapped-accessible features like extra-wide doorways, barrier-free shower stalls and front entrances with no stairs. 

Take a look at some sample house plans for tiny homes that are handicapped accessible to give 
yourself more ideas. 

Look from Every Angle 

If your relative is already at the point where they will need daily care, evaluate first whether you 
will, in fact, be able to provide this care. It’s important to consider all the aspects of making a 
move like this well ahead of time. Even under the best of circumstances, a move can often be a 
difficult adjustment.  

Falk Construction is northern Utah’s leader in home renovations and constructions. If you’re 
considering remodeling or building a detached addition, contact the design team at Falk for a free 



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