20 Dec 2012

Planning for future needs in Brisbane

Tips and Advice
Mobility home design

Design for accessibility

As you sitting there reading this article you might be in the prime of your life, or at the very least be feeling fit and healthy. If you’re like most people your vision for your new home or renovation may focus entirely on your current lifestyle and activity level, as it of course should.

But if you intend living in your home long-term, what about future you and your future needs?

Mobility and accessibility

A reasonable percentage of my clients are in their late 40’s or 50’s and are active, healthy people. Mobility is not an issue for the bulk of them now but what about in 15-20 years time? Will they still be able to bound up a flight of stairs in their 70’s?

Well, I certainly hope that they will, but I am also practical enough to know that maybe they won’t.

The effects of age-related mobility issues can often be warded off with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, but not everyone is that disciplined, nor are all people’s bodies the same. Whilst some people may be fairly sprightly until a ripe old age others may not be so fortunate for reasons beyond their control.

Of course, it’s not just old age that is a factor. Young families may also find themselves to be less agile when carrying a newborn baby or toddler. And then, of course, there are those times when injuries occur like sprained ankles, broken legs or worse. A lack of mobility can be an issue for so many reasons.

Because of this, a large part of my Lifestyle Assessment consultations consider issues of mobility and access in the years to come. And even if the home design doesn’t need to cater for mobility issues immediately, the thought is given to potential future renovations if and when the need arises.

Thoughtful planning at the start can make future accessibility related renovations in the future easier and more affordable.

Short-term benefits

If you plan to grow old in your new or renovated home it makes sense to cater for accessibility and limited mobility in the design of your home. But it can also make good sense even if you intend to sell in the short to medium term.

You personally might not have mobility issues, but a considerable number of people have some form of disability and we currently have an ageing population. A home that caters for mobility challenges is sure to be appealing to a large number of potential buyers and is unlikely to be a deterrent to those without mobility issues.

My Lifestyle Assessment consultations look closely at all of these factors, in particular, your potential long-term needs. Through this process, we can create home designs that cater not just for your needs today, but for your potential needs in the years to come.

Keep an eye out for my next article in which we will explore some of the design elements that can make your home more mobility friendly.

Dion Seminara, dion seminara architecture

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