According to Sunnyfields’ design manager Kevin Brown, while the concerns of old age hit retirees hardest, it’s never too early to begin planning.
Just as the going wisdom is to start saving for retirement with the proceeds of your first paper route or babysitting job, Brown, a certified “aging-in-place” specialist, urges house-hunting younger people to think about the future, that is, the long-term future.
“Aging in place is an often overlooked variable when searching for one’s forever home,” he says. But when you land that house and give thought to decorating or renovations, why not incorporate universal design tenets that will make it possible for you to stay there for good?
As you will learn when you attend the seminar at Sunnyfields, 6305 Falls Road, September 22, 11 to 1, lunch included (sign-up required at www.sunnyfieldscabinetry.com ).
And don’t worry, though the designs are practical, they’ll still add a stylish vibe to your space. Take, for instance, the barrier-free shower. There’s no curb at the bottom of the glass. You can walk right in without tripping and can even roll in a wheelchair or navigate a walker should the need arise. The shower floor is subtly sloped toward the drain end. It can look even more modern than the standard glass shower as its infinity glass goes all the way to the floor.
More bathroom ideas: grab bars that are pretty and not institutional, toilet paper holders that are strong enough to hold your weight, toilets that sit higher up for easier use. Non-slip tiles come in gorgeous, high-end designs that prevent everyone, not just the elderly, from slipping on the bathroom floor.
Universal design can be brought in to other areas of your home as well. When renovating or adding a room, for instance, or in a new build, make interior doorways 36″ wide instead of the standard 30″ or 32″. Wider doorways will accommodate a wheelchair if you need one someday, and, frankly, they look a lot more luxe throughout the home. They impart a gracious feel. And as anyone who buys a new couch knows, (or for those of us who just like to rearrange furniture) you can really use that extra width for everyday convenience.
Another brilliant idea to incorporate: interior closets that can some day hold an elevator. You don’t need to be incapacitated to appreciate that one.
Brown constantly hears clients say, “I want to stay in this home where I raised my children.” People are living longer and want nice things, he says. “It’s not about sacrificing beautiful things, it’s accommodating for the future. Even if people leave the seminar with a couple ideas – we’ve helped them.”
The Aging in Place seminar is co-sponsored by A Touch of Brass and Chesapeake Tile. Feel free to bring any renovation plans with you. All designers will be on hand afterwards for one-on-one discussions. Click here to reserve your spot.
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