"We want students to anticipate what aging seniors' needs are going to be," says gerontologist Tobi Ambramson, Ph.D., in a Newsday article featuring NYIT's "Stories Construct Design" project, a collaboration among students studying mental health, interior design, and occupational therapy. "The whole idea is to help before the crisis hits. And we want them to become aging specialists in their careers."
The article included two case studies presented by students in early December to highlight potential home modifications that local older adults could make to their homes to help them age in place. Interior design students Ashley Herz and Stacie Krug explained some of the changes they suggested for their clients.
"The design should last the whole life of a home," says Herz, whose redesign of a North Massapequa couple's home included installing a wheelchair lift, raising the floor in a lowered den area, and replacing carpeting with cork floors to help prevent falls.
Krug and her team worked with a client who has multiple sclerosis, and they proposed the addition of accessible bathrooms, an elevator, and color pallette changes to help their client see better throughout the home.
"Working with someone who already had needs presented different challenges than with someone who was aging in place," Krug says. "We had to think of what would make her life easier, but with designing you have to think about what makes everyone's life easier."