In 2010, Vanessa Piala and her husband Jim Belikove modified their home near Chevy Chase, Md., by digging out the basement and adding an in-law suite in anticipation of moving her parents there from New Jersey.
But after her mother had a stroke, Piala stayed with her parents in New Jersey for 18 months before moving them both to an assisted-living facility in Maryland.
“My mother was in a wheelchair before she passed away in 2016 and my father was in a wheelchair part-time until he died at 97 years old in 2018,” says Piala. “I used to bring them to our house but the struggle with the wheelchairs up just a few steps was difficult and the in-law suite was inaccessible to them.”
Now Piala and Belikove are in their mid-60s, and their experience with her mother has informed them on new modifications to their home. They’ve added a first-floor primary suite, a wheelchair-accessible bathroom and an open kitchen to accommodate mobility issues they anticipate facing in the future.