I recently had the opportunity to view an excellent webcast by Cynthia Leibrock, MA, ASID. She talked about really important issues to consider when remodeling, as what you do will likely want to st the test of time usefullness.
What I learned was that it is very important to satisfy sensory surroundings in order to dramatically effect our lives. There are different reactions we have intuitively when entering a space. For example, a study on carpet in a room vs. a linoleum tile showed that people of all ages are able to improve gait, step length walking confidence on carpet.
On the other h, rooms with linoleum or a patterned tile floor appeared to be cleaner, yet somewhat louder to seniors, for babies in hospitals. But this sensory perception is invisible to people. Good decisions about spacial design – large enough to manuever, maximizing light, views windows (even using architectural windows indoors), integrating beautiful accommodations (floors, tile, floors designed to delineate different areas, large hallways, larger bath + kitchen color choices, even scent water features); these are all meant to be inclusive.
And, they should be considered when converting an existing home or when building new homes or care facilities.
The biggest thing that comes through her talk is that Universal Design principals, when used together, create a more stress free enviornment; require less thought to maneuver, they are intuitive invisible, exp use, they’re not just designed for single use.
For more in depth information about how materials their usage implact Senior Living the Health Care Industry especially, read the article by Mark Rossi, PhD, Tom Lent:
For more information about Cynthia Leibrock, her web site, The Secrets of Aging Beautifully, can be found at http://agingbeautifully.org/1024×768.html.