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Friday, January 29, 2010

Things to consider for Aging In Place design

** Today's guest blogger:
Abbie Sladick, CGR, a certified Aging in Place Specialist by the National Association of Homebuilders and expert in Universal Design, has consulted on many articles and publications. She is a member of the advisory council for the National Kitchen and Bath Association and has also sat on the American Society of Interior Designer’s (ASID) National Council on Aging in Place and Universal Design. She was recently recognized by Qualified Remodeler Magazine as a Top 500 Remodeler, and has received the Master Design Award for Universal Design. Sladick also founded and oversees two companies: Abbie Joan Enterprises, a remodeling firm specializing in interior remodeling projects, and Great Grabz,, a designers and manufacturer of decorative grab bars and safety fixtures.
This past weekend, I took a ride to visit my aunt and uncle who live about 2 hours away. They have just moved from a story townhouse with the master on the first floor to a 3 bedroom apartment. This has been a year of tremendous physical and emotional stress for them. The move could not have come at a better time.
My uncle is 85 and is a bipedal amputee from diabetes. He loves an active life and exercises, but moving from standing to sitting is becoming more difficult. My aunt is 78 and is having many issues that are slowing her down and creating balance problems. She has always been a take charge person and truly resents these physical changes.
They made the decision to move this fall. Luckily they sold there home in 2 weeks. They decided to rent vs. purchase to limit monthly expenses and allow them to be more flexible in the upcoming years. It is a very good time to rent in Boca Raton, Florida.
When they purchased their home 16 years ago, they thought that it would be their last residence. The townhouse had all of the Aging in Place and accessibility modifications that we could think of. There were ramps at the entrances, well placed grab bars, a roll in shower, and many kitchen modifications to make life easier. This fall they decided this was not enough. Simple physical tasks became overwhelming and they put the house on the market.
The tasks that became overwhelming are everyday activities that we might take for granted.
  • Getting things out of the car and maneuvering their cart in the standard 2 car garage.
  • Carrying the laundry across the house from the utility room to the bedroom.
  • Rolling the garbage and recycling up the short drive.
  • There larger home required constant maintenance and this created added stress.
The move to a smaller apartment with a common parking garage and elevator eliminated many of these problems. Maintenance is always one call away and there is a garbage shoot at the door. It may be farther to walk from the car to the front door, but a cart is always handy for carrying and balance.
This visit opened my eyes to the fact that we can make many great home modification suggestions, but ensuring that money is spent on the right residence is very important. Living in a stressful physical and financial situation can limit people’s ability to stay independent.
They now have a few new Great Grabz grab bars in their bathroom and they are living a much more comfortable and secure life. They are entertaining friends, becoming more social in the building and needing less assistance from family. It was a great Aging in Place decision – Just a new place.

1 comment:

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