Northshore Magazine

March 2016

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 174 of 196

172 Smart design features spacious rooms that accommodate wheelchairs. CONTACT Bonneville Design 68 Summer St. Manchester 978-526-4491 bonnevilledesign. com ence. "Very few people end up in wheelchairs, although they may use one temporarily," she continues. "But if you design to that standard, life will be a lot easier." A well-executed upgrade, she says, can increase the marketability of a house by 25 percent. "It doesn't have to be ugly; today, grab bars come in every color and finish that towel bars come in. Manufacturers are coming up with new solutions every day as the baby boomers age. They are a generation accustomed to having what they want." Of course, there is more to aging in place than upgrading the bath— there's the bigger picture to address. "How easy is it to get in and out photographs by Sam Gray (top), by Eric Roth (bottom and opposite page) life when I needed help. My brother, and many others, taught me that there are differences between people—both physical and cognitive. And I think that is what led me to the profession I have chosen. The practice of interior design taught me to respect those differences by creat- ing optimal living environments for all people—young, old, and at any other stage in life." She especially addresses the common dilemma of homeowners who, as they (and their friends and families) age, find that home is not only hard to negotiate but down- right dangerous. Your home should accommodate not only your own disabilities, she says, but those of your guests. "I hear stories like the one about the woman who said she could no longer go to her niece's house for Thanksgiving because having her wheelchair carried through the too- narrow doorway by four men was just too difficult and humiliating." With foresight and a few struc- tural changes, almost any home can become friendlier. "Upgrade your home so that you can live there as long as you want," she suggests. "The cost is far less than the alternative. A two-floor el- evator costs less than seven months in assisted living in Massachusetts." The most important room to upgrade, she points out, is the bath- room. Taking out thresholds and putting in grab bars are essential, as are adjustable showerheads and reachable controls. Bonneville ad- vocates the use of porcelain tile. "It's indestructible, beautiful, and easy to clean." She points out that for people who use wheelchairs, grab (support) bars and wall-mounted toilet con- trols can make for a few precious moments of privacy and independ-

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