Tech-infused Airbnb shows seniors how to age in place in style – Orlando Sentinel

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to aging, I have a plan. Plan A is I won’t grow old. Plan B is that if I have to get old, I’ll fall into swinging.

So, I was heartened to learn that new technology and a cutting-edge designer promised to make aging at home a whole lot easier. And, according to a recent AARP investigation, 77% of people over 50 want to “age in place”. (That’s jargon for not going to a nursing home.) That percentage jumps to 86% among those over 65, which tells me that the older you get, the less the idea of ​​sitting in a home retirement under the thumb of someone without a car is appealing. keys becomes.

“Boomers are especially reluctant to give up their freedom,” said interior designer Lisa Cini, interior design expert and owner of Mosaic Design Studio, of Columbus, Ohio. “Especially after Covid dropped and assisted living centers became places no one could visit or leave, baby boomers are even more determined to preserve their independence.”

And it makes it easy for them. After 25 years of designing assisted living facilities and remodeling her own home in Columbus to accommodate four generations – her and her husband, their two teenagers, her 70-year-old parents and her 92-year-old grandmother living with dementia – Cini has channeled her personal and professional insights into the lives of older people into a new project.

After her grandmother passed away and the kids left for college and careers, she found a historic mansion for sale in her town. She bought it and turned it into a nine-bedroom Airbnb designed to accommodate seniors in comfort, safety, and style. (I like the style part. If I want to age in place, this place has to look good.)

“What more can you do but get rid of tripping hazards, add lighting, widen doorways for wheelchairs and walkers, and install lever door handles,” I asked Cini at the telephone.

A lot. The Werner House features more than 50 senior-centric technologies that Cini has obtained through her interior design connections, most of which blend invisibly into the beautiful decor. “Some guests stay and never know there is anything unusual,” she added.

Indeed, as Cini takes me on a virtual tour, what strikes me most is that nothing about the 10,000+ square foot property screams “this is for seniors!” The technical keys are discreet and practical. In addition to the bedrooms and their adjoining bathrooms, the Airbnb has a ballroom, fitness spa and lap pool, speakeasy, three kitchens, and a cinema and music room.

Marketed as an Airbnb with a mission, The Werner House (www.infinite-living.org), which opened to customers in April, aims to subtly market products to those who wish to age in place and encourage them to experience new technologies during their stay that they can later adopt at home, has said Cini, adding that she ultimately wants to take the Airbnb concept nationwide.

Here is a sample of the integrated equipment:

  • Floors that give the impression. Five of the suites feature Sole technology with SensFloor by Shaw Floors. The subfloor, which allows any type of flooring to pass over it, has built-in sensors that can detect when someone is falling, versus when they are just sitting on the floor, and can then send the appropriate alert for assistance. You can also program the floor so that when your feet touch the floor of the bed, the bathroom light comes on.
  • Anti-noise carpet. In public areas like the dining room, speakeasy and living room, the carpet has noise cancellation technology. “A lot of older people have hearing loss and stop going out to eat because it’s so hard for them to hear,” Cini said. “The carpet absorbs the din, which makes conversations easier.”
  • Firmer seats. Anyone who’s ever sunk into a low, plush chair and felt like they needed two men and a crane to get them out will appreciate that the cushions on chairs and sofas throughout the Werner House are made of ultra-dense foam, and that no seat is lower than 19 inches. Some upholstered club chairs have a nice wooden and brass hanger on the back, to hold a folded walker.
  • Full service bathrooms. Adjustable toilets raise to help guests sit down and lower for ease of use. Toilet paper holders have built-in grab bars and bidet seats have been added to standard toilets to promote hygiene. “People don’t understand the beauty of a bidet toilet seat,” Cini said. “For $400, anyone can install a bidet seat on a regular toilet and save a lot of toilet paper.”
  • Wells that synchronize. Bathrooms also have adjustable sinks that can drop down to wheelchair height, side grab bars on sinks to help people stand and sit, and bathtubs accessible spa.
  • Cabinets that come to you. In kitchens, smart cabinets have a mechanism that allows them to detach from the wall and drop down to your level, a boon for those who have difficulty reaching and lifting items from upper cabinets. Once you have what you need, return to the cabinet. The kitchen counters are height adjustable to accommodate both a five-foot wife and her six-foot husband. “It’s a big deal for the cut,” Cini said, “which is about leverage.”

“Having a home that adapts to you and protects you shouldn’t be out of the question,” she said.

And now that is no longer the case.

Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including What to do with everything you own to leave the legacy you want, Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Give Upand Downsizing the Mixed Home – When Two Households Become One. You can reach her at www.marnijameson.com.

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