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Americans 85 years and older are the fastest growing segment of our population. Never in the history of the world have so many people lived so long.

Are you one of the millions of people caring for an aging parent, spouse or grandparent? Aging Deliberately can guide you through the complex problems and challenges of ensuring appropriate and safe care for your loved ones. We can also help you plan for your own future needs as you grow older.

Seventy percent of us are likely to need some kind of assistance before we died. Yet most of us have no idea of the services that are available, what’s needed, their costs, their quality, how they work together (or not) — or how to make wise choices.

Liz Taylor of Aging Deliberately has 35+ years experience providing expert consultations to families caring for their loved ones. She also assists adults in their mid years to prepare for their own aging while they’re healthy — and have the luxury of time to make thoughtful choices.

Most of us age accidentally, without planning or forethought. At Aging Deliberately, we help people prepare to age successfully — on purpose — because aging well is one of the most important life goals there is.

Join us to learn how to care for others and how to plan for your own future.


Read my latest post

Accessible Retirement Home

A FLEXIBLE, ACCESSIBLE HOME

by Janice Marie Nyman, Architect
PLLC-LEED, NCARB

AccesssibleRetirementHome-LizTaylorAs a younger architect, I recall entering an American Institute of Architects design competition titled “The House of the Future.” To me, this was a challenge to create a community, or a series of homes, for unique and complex individuals.

I created an imaginary sketch of neighbors: a retired couple formerly employed in the wine industry, a traveling circus acrobat, and others, both young and old. Today, I think about how we each have our own intrinsic talents, and how they can be shared in communities. I’m intrigued with houses designed for social flexibility, accessibility, and nature’s beauty. Can we have a house that can adapt to our needs for inspiration, care and social connection as we grow older? I think so!

My own parent’s home went through accessibility adaptations to make living there manageable for a longer period of time. I regret that they did not have a bedroom and bath apiece on the ground floor. While one of them was cared for at home, the other could have still had privacy (see drawing).

FlexibleHome-AgingDDeliberately

For empty nesters or single folks who feel they are “swimming” in too large of a house, sharing space can be ideal. Having social connections, and not feeling alone, is important for people of all ages.

What qualities are inherent in a flexible accessible home?

Here are a few ideas:

Physical:

  • Full wheelchair access is typically specified and planned by an architect, yet a home owner can consider the more basic ambulatory options: Are hallways, stairs and doors wide enough for easy mobility, no matter how you get about? Is furniture arranged to not get in the way? Simply removing clutter and having places to store things can improve flow.
  • Think about having the right size closets and cupboards.
  • Always keep floor areas clear around the doors for easy access.
  • As a part-time arborist, I’ve dragged tarps with tree cuttings from front to back yards. Doing this, one finds out quickly which yards pose obstructions. Draw a movement path through your house. Is it without obstructions? Accessibility also is part of positive Feng Sui.
  • Bathrooms are often too small. One remedy: You can replace a bathtub with a threshold free shower. This is a shower that has no “bump” between it and the rest of the room, and is lightly sloped to drain. Threshold free is especially good for one with a leg injury, as you need not bend your knee greatly to get into the shower.

Inspirational:

  • Can your house be easily converted into a duplex? Perhaps you will want to keep the small unit for storage and security and spend time traveling while you rent out the other space. Mexico is my destination! (see drawing below)

FlexibleDuplex2-AgingDeleiberately

  • Do all rooms have the potential for natural light and ventilation, or a view of a garden? An organic, edible garden can bring joy and health, and an inspiring hobby to your life.
  • Get creative: My brother created a summer greenhouse for my parents by attaching PVC pipe and visqueen from the head jamb of the garage door opening.

Social space and Private space:

  • Can your ground floor accommodate two bedrooms and two baths if needed?
  • Are there a few simple modifications you can make to your home to make it more flexible and accessible?
  • If you need care at home, could you easily create a separate space for a caregiver or relative?

As Liz’s newsletter promotes: Plan a great life for your younger and older self. It never hurts to be farsighted when building or purchasing a home. Share your ideas!

 

JaniceMarieNyman-AgingDeliberatelyBIO: Janice Marie Nyman has practiced residential architecture for over 25 years, designing many homes along the West Coast. Raised in Alaska, educated at Cornell University in New York, and trained as an Architectural intern in Basel Switzerland, her profound love of nature, technological innovation, and the arts, shines through in all of her projects. Her passion for the environment led her to obtain certification as an Arborist, and accreditation as a LEED Architect. As an intern architect, Janice developed community housing in Basel Switzerland. Throughout the years, Janice has designed many contextual mid-size homes. Now she would like to bring past and present experience together to create affordable, flexible, accessible, beautiful garden communities.

 



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