It's no secret that the aging of Boomers will mean changing housing needs. This massive generation will include people who need accessible features in their homes, but won't want to give up convenience, style, and livability. Safety is always an issue, but no one wants to feel as if they are living in an institutional environment.
In Baltimore, one company has taken on the challenge. Accessible Housing Services bought a typical, small ranch house in the Pikesville area, and made changes that open the home up with options for the mobility-impaired and wheelchair users. I had a chance to see the home a while ago, and came away impressed.
The front entrance is remarkable because it looks completely "normal" – the nicely fenced porch has the kind of walkway to the front door you would expect. Then you notice that the end of the porch next to the driveway is open, and it is actually the beginning of a gently inclined ramp.
At the front door, a push-button lock and handle simplify opening. Inside are halls that are comfortably wide, and even fiberglass-reinforced walls that resist dings and dents from wheelchair bumps. The kitchen features multi-height counters to serve both standing and seated chefs. And out back, the fenced deck features the same level driveway access and French doors.
Eric Anderson received the Accessibility Award from the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities, and an Executive Citation from the County Executive for his creation of this house. It illustrates what can be done to help people stay in their homes as their health needs change. Isn't that what most of us want?