INNOVATIVE over 50s lifestyle community developer Halcyon is delivering baby boomers the opportunity to save money and gain peace of mind by future-proofing their new homes ahead of the mobility challenges that may lay ahead for them.
Halcyon has voluntary embraced the Livable Housing Design (LHD) initiative to give home buyers in its Halcyon communities the option of incorporating design features that will meet their changing needs as they age.
Currently an optional scheme, LHD has been targeted by the Federal Government to become mandatory for new homes by 2020. Halcyon Glades at Caboolture is at the forefront of the home future-proofing trend.
Aside from the social benefit of allowing older people to live longer and more safely in their own homes, the initiative has a compelling economic upside, with built-in adaptability a staggering 22 times more efficient than the cost of retrofitting down the track.
Aimed at making homes easier to enter and to navigate internally, LHD has three levels of performance – Silver, Gold and Platinum – that new homes can achieve.
Silver prescribes eight core design features including: at least one step-free and level entry; a bathroom with a hobless shower recess; reinforced walls around the bath, shower and toilet to support the safe installation of grabrails; and a continuous handrail on one side of any stairway where there is a rise of more than one metre.
Gold and Platinum-level homes incorporate more extensive and generous design elements.
The initiative is already proving popular with buyers at Halcyon Glades, even though many of them still lead busy and active lives.
Home owners Wayne and Marion Clarke selected a Platinum-level home when they purchased at Halcyon Glades earlier this year.
“We’re not ready to retire, but we are conscious of ongoing and forthcoming health issues and thought that we should make some important decisions while we still have control,” Mr Clarke said.
“My mother-in-law, who lived in an over 50s community, was making her way to the community centre when she tripped and fell over the runner of the flyscreen in the door – she was sadly unable to recover from the fall.
“After experiencing this first-hand, we knew we had to make smart decisions to future-proof our home.”
Downsizing from a four-bedroom home at Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast, the Clarkes are anticipating completion of their new home at Halcyon Glades by August 2017.
“After we saw all the plans in detail we knew it was the best option to suit all our current and future needs,” Mr Clarke said.
“Our home will meet Federal Government standards and more importantly, it will meet our needs.
“The internal doors will slide into a wall cavity, there will be no lip to trip over in the shower, and a seamless entry and other features that will enable our home to be more easily and cost effectively adaptable to meet our changing needs.”
Halcyon joint managing director Bevan Geissmann said LHD would enhance the quality of life for many baby boomers as they aged.
“The homes are designed to be easy to enter and to move around in, capable of cost-effective adaptation and to be responsive to the changing needs of their residents,” Dr Geissmann said.
“The significant ageing baby boomer demographic represents a growing market for age-friendly, livable housing that is designed and built with comfort, safety and ease of access as core features.”
LHD homes reflect the standards set by Livable Housing Australia, a partnership between community and consumer groups, government and industry.
Federal MP for Longman Susan Lamb said it was of utmost importance for the community to meet the changing needs and abilities of home occupants such as ageing baby boomers and people with a disability.
“These designs will make their lives easier, safer and most importantly, more enjoyable,” Ms Lamb said.
The Platinum-level rating requires more generous dimensions for most of the core Livable Design elements and introduces additional elements for features such as the living room and flooring.
Elements include easy access, step-free pathway, generous car space, ground-level bedroom and bathroom, step-free shower, slip-resistant flooring, windows at seated and standing height, living and bedroom spaces to encourage ease of movement, and light switches to be positioned in consistent configuration.
Homes at Halcyon Glades are priced from $389,000. The sales centre is at 34 Ardrossan Road, Caboolture, and is open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.