Thursday, September 19, 2019

Building a New Home for Empty Nesters

Most members of the Boomer Generation, born between 1946 and 1964, when having you help them design their new home fail to think about their needs in the years after the house is completed.

For most Boomers, physically, things just don’t work as well today as they did just 5 years ago. Who knows what the future will bring. 

One thing for sure is that something unexpected will happen to change their lives but you, as their modular home builder, need to be ready with some small but very important suggestions for their new home.

Your Boomer customer may not beware of some of these suggestions but you will be their Hero when the time comes when they are needed.

Here are six things that Boomers will appreciate as they age in place in their new home:

Open Floorplans
Take another look at the floor plan and have them consider removing walls between the living and dining rooms, kitchen, family room, and/or entry halls which will make their house feel bigger and more comfortable—and makes the space easier to negotiate in old age.

Curb-Free Showers
Visit any high-end resort or flip through a glossy design magazine and you’ll notice that every shower has glass doors that go all the way to the floor, with no lip to step over. Aside from being a sleek and sophisticated look, this eliminates a major tripping hazard.

Multiple Height Counters
When you help them plan their new kitchen, include some counters at standard height (36 inches), some at breakfast bar height (42 inches), and some at table height (30 inches) with knee space for sitting. Having a range of counters will give them more options for prepping or cooking while standing or seated, all without requiring that they bend over.

Wide Doorways
Here is another thing to check on their floor plan. Make sure the doorways are wide. A lot of Boomers are obese and some of the new wheelchairs will not easily fit through even a 36” opening. Also, don’t forget to look for doorways that are hard to get to and open, door swings and hinging and consider 8’ wide sliding Patio doors instead of 6’.  This will makes their home feel more spacious, and will allow for wheelchair access should they ever need it later.

Lever-Style Doorknobs
Just as lever-style faucets have become the norm for kitchens and showers because they’re attractive and easy to operate, lever doorknobs are more ergonomic than standard round versions. They’re easier to grab and manipulate if they’re carrying a load of groceries or laundry—or if they’re aging in place.

High Outlets
When modular factories are left to their own devices, most of their electricians will install new outlets at 12 to 18 inches off the floor. But that requires bending over every time the Boomer needs to plug in the vacuum. Ask for outlets 24 inches high instead, and you’ll make their house easier to use now and when they get older.

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