Recently we shared with you a Harvard housing study, that stated that by 2035, 1 out of every 3 households in the U.S. will be headed by someone 65 and older. That’s a remarkable statistic but why are any of us surprised? The baby boomers are moving along in time. What is more surprising is the fact that, government and industry have not addressed what needs to be done to make the transition work for this segment of the population.
In looking at homes and how they are designed, except perhaps for communities heavily populated and built for retirees, architects and builders have not grabbed this issue and come up with innovation solutions. One very obvious issue – how to navigate a second level when walking or balance becomes an issue. Up to now, the only solution has been a chair lift that is not very attractive and signals “invalid” or a very expensive elevator or move to a ranch. There is no doubt about it, we need more innovative, economical solutions.
The New York Times, recently published a good story about, “well-thought-out redesign (that) might also include modifications to help you stay in your home as you grow older.” Things like, including in a kitchen renovation shelving to minimize bending, grab bars (attractively designed) in the shower and other areas of the home to prevent falling, installing extra lighting, movable kitchen islands, lower kitchen counters, toilets that are just two inches higher to make sitting and standing easier, etc.
These types of “renovations help people’s mobility and will reduce social isolation as we age.”
Source: New York Times, Thinking Ahead, January 1, 2017, Real Estate Section Page 1,8.
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