How To Make An Attached Garage More Accommodating For Seniors

Updated on September 8, 2020

As we age, most of us prefer to stay at home. By living at home, many seniors can live comfortably and independently without having to change locations. To make this lifestyle a reality, garage apartments are becoming increasingly popular.

What Is A Garage Living Space?

A garage living space is an area that can be turned into a home if done correctly. Garages often make sense for senior living because they are located on the ground level and are usually spacious without being burdensome.

Garage space is also ideal for those who would like to live closer to family. Since garages are part of a larger house structure, extended family can live within walking distance. This can be especially important if driving ability is limited.

A garage is typically attached to the rest of the house, but can be a separate unit. Regardless if it is a stand alone structure, the space is big enough for at least one car to fit inside. Many garages include a specific type of sliding door that can be operated at the push of a button.

Why Are Garages Used By Seniors

One of the top concerns for aging seniors is the impact of a fall. As the aging process advances, bones may become softer and more likely to break in the event of a fall. Falls can happen from medication side effects, hip replacements, osteoporosis and other age-related issues.

Bi-level housing such as living in a two-story house or condo may not be accessible for those who use walkers or wheelchairs. By converting a garage into a living space, the home can be completely designed on one floor. This includes the possibility for a bathroom or kitchen located on the same level.

How To Make The Most Of A Garage Living Space

Garages come in many different styles, arrangements and spaces. To make the most out of a garage living space, comfort and practicality must be taken into consideration.

A realistic garage living space needs a proper heater. A garage heater is a reliable way to regulate temperature during the cool seasons of the year. Unlike a space heater, these heaters are much more safe and effective.

Installing a garage heater is not difficult. For heaters with thermostats, a cable should be run from the breaker box to the thermostat and then from the thermostat to the actual heating unit. Electric heaters can typically be installed in under an hour. Simply clear a space on the floor and place the heater against the back wall of the garage door.

In addition to mandatory necessities, garages can be made more comfortable with specific furnishings. Rugs can help keep warmth inside the garage as well as heavy curtains for potential windows. Even with one or two windows in the garage, lamps can help with vision and mood.

Upgrading old home furnishings may also be desired when moving into a garage living space. Many people are surprised to find some furnishings to be out of date. Finding the right mattress for an aging adult can be hugely beneficial. Depending on bone structure and any medical limitations, certain mattresses may work better than others.

Sleeping patterns often change as we age. While many people find themselves waking up earlier, other people can suffer from insomnia. Sleep is crucial for any age, but can be especially important with those who may have cognitive issues that require optimal brain functioning on a day to day basis. When moving into a new space, upgrading a bed can help with proper sleep health.

Aging In Place

Living independently at home used to be considered an extremely expensive option for seniors who could afford it. By utilizing extra home space for a new living arrangement, there is now a more affordable way to stay home. Without buying a new ground-level apartment, seniors can age in place at home.

Aging in place is a natural way to feel comfortable and safe while still staying connected to one’s home. For those who are anxious about safety, falls and other medical conditions that may not make stairs a possibility, garage space can be imperative.

Depending on how social one wants to be, there are multiple options when aging at home. Whether a senior citizen prefers independence and an “alone time” that may not be possible in a living care facility or whether they want to be closer to family, a garage living space can make a huge difference in the quality of life.


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