Deborah Pierce, an architect and expert on universal design, sat down with Fiorente Media and talked about adapting a home for people who wish to age-in-place. We also had the opportunity to have a tour of an adapted bathroom at the home of Kristie Dodge, who made changes to accommodate her aging parents.
Fiorente Media: What is your goal when helping a homeowner make changes to accommodate different physical abilities?
Deborah Pierce: My goal is to make homes that don’t need to be dismantled when someone leaves because the accessibility improvements are the kinds of improvements that people like anyway.
It’s the difference between lever handles on a door knob versus a round knob. No one looks at it and says “This is accessible.” You just look at it and say “It’s modern, it’s new, it’s comfortable. It’s what everybody likes these days.”
Fiorente Media: Tell us about the adapted bathroom you are about to show us.
Deborah Pierce: The homeowner (Kristie Dodge) bought the house to live in with her elderly parents. There was a bedroom, a bathroom, and a laundry on the first floor. But, the bedroom and the bathroom were not accessible, the doors were narrow and small. Kristie wanted to make a comfortable bedroom/bathroom suite for her parents on the first floor.
Kristie Dodge: The change made a big impact. My parents moved in with me and my father needed the accessibility options. Most recently, he was using a walker or a wheelchair. To have a space that met his needs was very good for us.
Fiorente Media: Kristie, were the changes to the adapted bathroom worth it?
Kristie Dodge: It was definitely worth it. I was planning ahead, but we ended up using the suite sooner than I had anticipated. It allowed my parents to be here with me and not have my father go a facility.
Deborah Pierce: You can really prolong your independence by many years with a bathroom upgrade. And, these changes help the resale value of homes because it widens the field of potential buyers because there are people looking for homes with these features.
Kristie Dodge: I plan on keeping the changes I made. I think the designs blend in with my home and I find myself using grab bars without even thinking about it.
For a complete tour of the adapted bathroom, click on the video above.
For a FREE copy of a guide to adapting your own home, click here.