What if you could commission a house to be specially designed for you to reflect the way you live, but that is also fully future proofed with all of the latest technology.
As architects we are often approached by clients looking to downsize from their large family home. Their main motivation is usually to release equity, but they also sometimes have a vague notion that it would be good to have a garden that is more manageable.

Everybody likes to think that they will live a long life in their family home with little if no thought about what happens if something unthinkable happens to them or their loved ones.

But what happens if the unthinkable does happen? Perhaps you or your partner has a stroke which confines them to a wheelchair. You may be able to make certain modifications to your family home to allow you continue to live in it, but rarely is this ideal in the long term, and the costs can be prohibitive.

Often decisions about where you live are taken away from you if you don’t take timely action, or your choices are limited because of a sudden or unexpected change of circumstance.

If you decide to downsize and prepare for the rest of your life, why should you lose your identity and end up in a faceless housing estate? Or worst still, a sheltered housing scheme where you don’t have your own front door, and you have to downsize to the extent you have to say goodbye to all your memories.

Do you want to live in a hotel of old people that could be likened to “gods waiting room”, or do you want to continue your life as you always have done, but secure in the knowledge that your home can adapt with your changing needs, and care can be bought to you as and when you require it? The picture to the left is a typical sheltered housing corridor -sterile, no daylight, no activity.

What if you could commission a house to be specially designed for you to reflect the way you live, but that is also fully future proofed with all of the latest technology. By having a home such as this, your prospects of needing to move to a nursing care home would be vastly decreased.

There has been a lot of bad press about care and nursing homes recently. Whilst there are great examples of good quality care homes, I have come to believe that this type of accommodation is out dated for modern society.

It has generally been accepted through the years that at some stage you will end up in a home. I am of a generation where I can’t think of anything worse.

I want to be able to live my life in my own house with my own front door. I want to  continue to feel young and interact with my younger neighbours. I want to be able to tend to my small garden if I want, or cut a bit of wood in my garden workshop just because I can. I don’t want to be sat in a box with the things I used to do taken away from.

I have seen my own family members delay and procrastinate over moving into accommodation until this type of event happens, and decisions become really hard – often the wrong decisions are made through sheer desperation.

I have seen depression set in very quickly with elderly relatives, and the downward spiral of ill health and unhappiness begins.

Does the scenarios outlined above resonate with you?

We are interested to learn what your aspirations for your latter years are.

Whilst this may not feel particularly relevant to you at your stage of life, the one guaranteed certainty is that we will all at some point have to face this dilemma.

When the time comes, what direction do you think you will take?

One thought on “Your Own Front Door?

  1. It was a nice read Mr. Robinson. I enjoyed it because as an architecture graduate I had very similar enquiries years back. And I strongly agree with you that it would be everyone’s dream to live in their own home that adapts to their needs, like age or health situation. It is lovely that your post actually touches the core, I.e. architectural design approach, architectural design vs. construction, design philosophies and system. Personally, as a designer/graduate architect I am concerned about the role,like myself’s, in making changes where possible and working towards making impossible become reality. And I see opportunity for me or you,as designers who care, to alter the way our environments are created and built. And as a result, noone will have to ask ‘When the time comes,what direction you think you will take?” . There’s room for better.
    I would be interested to learn about your deign approach and thinking and would be more than happy to meet and expand this discussion.
    Thank you for writing this post.

    Best wishes,
    Monika

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