Graying Hawaii (Part I)

by Locations LLC 1/22/2013 11:59:00 AM

Example #1: ADA height bed, foot light, layers of reading lights, recessed carpet, pull down closet.

Did you know that someone in the United States celebrates a 60th birthday every seven seconds?* As our country’s hair grows grayer, this population shift affects our social, economic, and political system. 
Hawaii has the fastest growing age-65+ population in the nation. In fact, our residents enjoy the longest expected lifespan in the country.
This poses unique challenges for our seniors and families. Our state has just half the number of nursing home beds per capita as the national average. Not surprisingly, these homes are brimming to capacity, with the median occupancy rate above 95% – making it one of the highest in the country. 
Additionally, Hawaii’s mixing pot of cultures and traditions creates challenges as baby boomers struggle with the responsibilities of caring for aging parents and their growing children in a challenging economic landscape.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 90% of seniors today want to stay in their home rather than move to a retirement facility. Their greatest fear? Losing their independence and a familiar environment where they’ve spent years building memories.

Example #2: Using well placed low-energy lighting will help increase floorspace visiblility and ensure more secure footing. 
In order to make this dream of aging in place a reality, many adult children today are renovating and adapting their homes to meet the long-term accessibility and care needs of their elderly parents. Making these changes can make the home safer, more comfortable, and overall increase the likelihood that the elderly will be able to live independently.

These changes don't have to be utilitarian: the products available today are more elegant and streamlined within a homes existing than the glaring plastic “grab bars” and space-consuming ramps are what many commonly associate with Universal features. 

This blog post is the first part in a series with helpful design tips by Ventus Designs. We want to offer examples of changes that can help families keep kupuna safe in their own homes, as well as other tips for homeowners to improve the quality and value of their homes.

Example #3: Easily reach all cabinets and closets from a wheel chair.
Ventus Designs is an award-winning interior design firm based in Honolulu that specializes in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Owned and managed by Reiko Lewis, Ventus Design offers expertise in furniture, carpet and fixture design as well as art consulting for clients around the world.
Lewis has more than a decade of experience working for some of the most-recognized names in the high-end hospitality interior design industry. As a native of Japan, her Asian background and Western experience gives her the unique insight and ability to marry the two worlds and bring to life new and exciting concepts. For more information, visit, email or call (808) 396-5477.
*White House Council of Aging 2005 Executive Summary


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