This has been on my mind a great deal lately. When I talk to people say something about “Aging In Place,” if they never heard the expression before, you can almost see them going through a physical change as they begin to underst the idea. At the same time, it can also bring out other emotions, like fear, denial, anger, sadness or just plain surprise! Then the next thing they say is,”That’s for other people, I’m not getting older!” NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE! Everyone says the same thing. People are funny that way.
So, as a designer, I am always trying to think up new ways to present information to my clients. It occurred to me that not only am I in the business of influencing people to introduce Universal Design principles to their homes, we are also involved in the business of Lifespan Design. Having successfully passed the ‘half way’ point myself, I know that people become increasingly aware of their health, mobility, mental acuity personal relationships as they age. Lifespan Design seems much more ‘civilized’ way to express what we are doing when evaluating home modification, change how we as builders designers approach new construction.
Universal Design Consultants has this to say about the current state of US housing:
“The depression era seniors of today have had to make-do under difficult circumstances imposed by the Depression World War II. They have tolerated the barriers hazards in their homes until a health crisis has required them to make some alterations / home modifications or had to move to an assisted living facility or higher level of care institution.”
As parents attempt to “Age in Place”, Baby Boomers are experiencing the difficulties imposed by unnecessary barriers hazards in the traditionally designed homes of their parents. Baby Boomers will not tolerate such short-sighted design when shopping for remodeling or new homes. They will expect dem that their homes will enhance health enable them to stay in their homes indefinitely without being forced into premature institutional living secondary to inadequate design.
Homes designed using Universal Design principles will accommodate grchildren as well as grparents support Freedom of Choice to Age in Place. UD accommodates changes over the lifetime due to aging, injuries, changing health needs as well as growth decline. UD facilitates social participation supports the sustainability of the individual as well as the community.
So start planning your Lifespan Design requirements today! Don’t hesitate to call HB if you have any questions about how to begin, or get the job done.