If you had a cast, or recent surgery, or a recent knee or hip replacement, what bathroom in your current home would work for you to easily take a shower? Do you even have a first floor bathroom where you can maneuver safely and easily for your basic needs if you are on crutches or wearing a boot from a procedure or accident?
Do you have your own private, personal sanctuary space in your current home? What could a sanctuary space possibly have anything to do with a healthy home?
In our former home, Cypress, was indeed this ultimate sanctuary space where reading, writing notes, or quiet conversations took place. This area continually restrored and renewed us with the soft shades of paint, lovely textures, comfy, functional furniture, plus task and ambiant lighting.
When entering or leaving your home through your garage, is there a landing, with wide, deep steps, good lighting, and a handrail?
When working in your kitchen, are you constantly reaching up or bending down to do everyday tasks?
Well, your answers to these questions will reveal whether you are living in a healthy home that daily equips and empowers you to live a healthier life. Or are you living in one that constantly compromises your wellbeing and wellness?
If there is any chapter in my book that resonates and motivates you to change your present wellness status, this is the one!
One last question, do you think this chapter is for those “old people”? If so, please read this true story.
I know this is a true story because it happened to my son when he was 35 years old, married with 3 children under the age of five, including a 14 month old baby. As with most life changing crises, he and his wife’s life changed in an instant! Due to a very serious accident requiring numerous leg surgeries and months of recovery time, he was forced to live on the first floor of their home. Because of living in a typical two story home with all of the bedrooms and main bathrooms located upstairs, major home adjustments had to be implemented immediately to accommodate my son’s inability to navigate up the stairs.
His twin brother was a God send removing all their dining room furniture and setting up a bed, a TV, work space, and basic amenities in the dining room to survive all the pain and months of therapy. The first floor powder room in this older home was typically tiny with a narrow door and barely enough room to turn around with full mobility. This family was remarkably impressive in their endurance. But obviously, this life changing event took its toll on every one of them.
There are two obvious points to make in this true life example. The first one is that accidents or surgeries happen to all ages and not just for those “old people”. The second point is a healthy home makes life healthier for all ages. Observing young families schlepping endless amounts of baby equipment up and down entry stairs, or trying to potty train a toddler in a tiny powder room, exemplifies the need for not only smarter designed homes, but healthier homes as well.
Why is wellness the buzz seemingly everywhere today? It is difficult to escape the plethora of health and wellness topics dominant throughout all types of media outlets including TV, newspapers, social media, and the internet. This major wellness phenomenon as predicted has finally trickled down to the housing industry. However, this has mostly occurred due to savvy consumers’ demand for smarter designed homes and smarter designed products.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal’s weekend section, OFF DUTY, highlighted this growing trend of incorporating safety in our homes. As stated in the article, “Talk about modifying a home for “aging in place” and baby boomers recoil, in fear of mortality and worse, ugliness. Now the design industry is filling this niche, stylishly”. The article goes on to dismiss concerns that safety features will be diminishing the value of homes. “Design for aging in place actually entices some buyers”, said Diane Harris, former editor in chief of Money magazine and currently the editorial director of Considerable, a financial and lifestyle brand targeting people in their 50s and 60s. “A first-floor bathroom that includes a shower adds more flexibility to a house layout,” she said. “A first floor laundry room is great for seniors — and also a young family”.
This newspaper article goes on to relay the story of an active 60 year old lady who is an active tennis player and a client of designer Michael A. Thomas, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, ( CAPS ). She balked at his suggestion of incorporating safety features in her bathroom believing that any modifications would make her appear “old”. Mr. Thomas did finally persuade her in taking his expert advice. Six months later, she shattered both of her knees on the tennis court. Because her remodeled bathroom could accommodate her recovery needs, she was able to return home instead of spending weeks in a rehab center.
Yes, the times certainly are changing in homeowner’s perceptions regarding preparing their homes to be more convenient, ergonomic, and safer. When our home was recently one of four homes on a symphony fundraising home tour, our local newspaper promoted the event by featuring our home as an aging in place home. Five hundred people toured our home in a day and half; curious to see what an aging in-place home actually looked like. Our favorite comment, of course, was that our home was beautiful. But unless pointed out, they had no idea of our aging in place features. Needless to say, there were many converted believers after seeing first-hand how a smarter and healthier design could seamlessly fit into any home and it didn’t have a “medical” or “old” stigma.
Stay tuned for next blog post or video in my private Facebook group, https://go.mitzibeach.com/, for a Healthier Home checklist. I believe passionately that we all can live better and healthier in a home where attention has been given to this relevant and important, and available check list. Do not miss out, it is free!
Be well age well,