Get Ahead of the Curve
Do your homework now as you prepare for the next chapter in your life…the golden years!
Like many people (more than 80% of those over 45 according to AARP), Eileen Turner and Andre Deloya wanted to stay in their home after retirement—at least during the warmer months. They love their wooded lot and quiet cul de sac near Minnehaha Creek, and their daughters and grandchildren live nearby. But sometimes life throws a curveball and plans alter. Two years ago, Deloya was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease). Out went thoughts of San Diego winters. In walked the determination to modify their circa-1940’s Colonial.
Through a referral, the couple found Butch Sprenger and Destiny Homes in Wayzata. Sprenger believed there was a way he could help them remain in their home.
The couple knew that with ALS, Deloya would be losing muscle control. “I’ll be the cook,” says Turner, “so we weren’t worried about the kitchen,” but they wanted Deloya to be able to sleep comfortably, use the bathroom and maintain his dignity by continuing to have some independence in his own home.
Sprenger worked with his team of great designers on a plan for a first-floor master suite behind the garage. The design included a new entry into the house, wider halls and doorways, floor-to-ceiling windows, a large closet, and a handicap accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower. The grab bars fit with the décor and “don’t look at all institutional,” Turner says. “Destiny also reinforced the ceiling to prepare for when I need a Hoyer lift [designed to carry a person from one part of a room to another]. I call it my ‘zip-line,’” Deloya says.
Not everyone will have Deloya’s needs as they age, but it’s never too early to make changes so you can stay in your home, Sprenger says. “Things like varied kitchen counter heights, slip-resistant floors, under- and in-cabinet lights and stairway night lights, rocker switches, touch-free faucets, a side-hinged oven. You could take the next step and have stacked closets prepped for an elevator. The bottom line is that there are things you can do now to prepare for your future self.”
Deloya and Turner’s renovation took about four months. “Butch was amazingly receptive and flexible,” Turner says. “He worked around our schedule.” They’re happy to be able to remain in their neighborhood and in their home, which Deloya says, “is livable for us, but also has enhanced value.”