Craig Nakano, in an article for the Los Angeles Times, writes about homes that age gracefully and the challenges facing architects as they try to meet the needs of a graying population.
The realities of the growing number of elderly surface repeatedly. The idea is that you want to stay independent as long as possible. This includes projects like wheelchair accessible hallways, handrails in the bathrooms, and driveways that run directly up to entrances.
People are starting to think ahead about where they want to live. They have real fears about being wheelchair bound and wonder if this means being relegated to an “old folks home”.
Architects are being faced with requests for universal design modifications in regards to accessibility issues and single floor designs.
As Americans struggle to plan for the graying population, new trends are developing. People are requesting floor plans for accessory dwelling units and better use of space as cost forces homes to consider more economical and environmentally friendly usage of space. The trend for architects is to come up with designs that incorporate new ways to use space better and add features that are practical and attractive at the same time.
The smaller but better trend popularized by “Not So Big House” author Sarah Susanka and others seems to be gaining ground. People are more interested in smaller homes of a much higher quality.
Source: “Homes that age gracefully; The challenge, architects say, is meeting the needs of a graying population.” Craig Nakano. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California; May 26, 2005. page F1