Page 113 - Cityview May-June 2017
P. 113

“Those, therefore, who deny that old age has any place in the management of affairs, are as unreasonable as those would be who should say that the pilot takes no part in sailing a ship....”
As technologies shrink the world, and economies of scale bring more possibilities into the
reach of more people, many are finding that, instead of moving into an assisted living facility, they’re perfectly capable of adapting their existing home to
their needs in advanced age. There are those who are even building handicap- accessible homes earlier in life. Among them, some are certainly thinking about their own future, while others are thinking about the future of the housing market.
“A lot of middle-aged couples are planning ahead, and wisely so,” says Stephen Davis. If you’re younger, it’s easy enough to design a home without ever considering what it would be like to grow old there. Davis, the owner of a home design firm based in Knoxville (Stephen Davis Home Design), started out with projects in Tellico Village where he developed many of the practices he still uses today. “If your home is roomy, you’re going to widen your market to older, retired couples that are planning for every possibility. You’re increasing your market,” says Davis. Or, as he puts it, “It’s really just common sense.”
Although there are plenty of things you can do to modify a home for aging in place, the end result is likely to be more livable if you’re looking ahead and designing a home to spend the rest of
— Cicero
your life in. Fortunately, most builders agree that this doesn’t require you to compromise on your style—unless, of course, you’re partial to really tight spaces. For instance, 3 ft. doorways are nice for anyone, not just for people in wheelchairs; the same goes for no-threshold entryways.
However, there are some things you’ll want to be acutely aware of if you’re simply going to modify home plans that haven’t been specifically designed for aging in place. In order
to cater to the larger dimensions popularly in demand for kitchens, dining rooms, entertainment rooms, and bedrooms, many of these generic designs reduce the size of hallways and doorways. The result is a house that would need significant modifications to accommodate someone who is wheelchair bound.
There are many such particulars to pay attention to when designing for
the long term. For instance, standard dimensions for first-floor bathrooms
are often too tight to fit a wheelchair. Here, as in so many places, a little bit
of foresight goes a long way. You might also consider a zero-entry shower.
Even if you’re still younger, you might enjoy having a sit-down bench and height-adjustable shower head. A raised dishwasher can take stress off your back, maybe even helping to prevent some of the strain that could cause you to later
MAY JUNE 2017 111

   111   112   113   114   115