Demographics matter! Statistics have shown us that in North America alone there are approximately 85 million, (yes, MILLION), Baby Boomers! By sheer number alone, they have become a force to be reckoned with. They are telling you what they are looking for in a home, but are you listening?
As a licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida, I often work with clients who are wanting to build a new home, remodel the home they’re presently living in, or look for an existing home to buy. One of the very first things we do is sit down together to determine their design goals, and identify any special needs they may have which would need to be addressed in the initial planning stages of the project. Their job is to communicate their needs . . . my job is to listen. And what I’m hearing from my fellow Baby Boomer clientele, (those born between 1946 to 1966) is consistent. Very simply, they do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to move out of their home because it is not an age-free environment.
Functionality and flexibility of the home is one of the primary concerns of this generation. Boomers are forward thinking when it comes to making design decisions based not only on what their immediate needs are, but in determining what their future needs might be as well. Here are some of the things they are looking for in a home . . .
wider hallways and doorways which could be wheel chair accessible if necessary
open living space and furniture lay-out which would allow them to move about more freely
easy “accessibility”, particularly at entrances and bathrooms
barrier-free bathrooms and kitchens equipped with the comfort height fixtures
excellent lighting throughout
easily rampable steps if necessary
levered handles instead of knobs for doors which will suit all users
roll out shelves for all base cabinetry in both kitchens and baths
one-floor plans, or in-home elevators which are fast becoming “must haves” for ease and accessibility in multi leveled homes – a feature to improve the quality of living at any age
flex areas such as home offices, media centers and workout areas, designed to support the varied demands and daily activities of this generation . . . who are technology minded, health conscious, retired, semi retired “Un-retireds”!
The definition of “HOME” for many of us is no longer merely the place where we house our belongings. It has become the headquarters for our lives! It is a refuge where we want to bring touches of the outside in, and vice versa. Many of us want to blend technology, the internet and wireless communications with the comfort and tranquility of a simpler, slower paced, more graceful moment in time . . . and call this HOME. It’s about having choices. With a collective voice the Baby Boomer generation is finding new ways for us to design spaces to fit not only their lifestyle, but meet the challenges of the changing stages of their life as well. We need to listen!