"Feng Shui and the Art of Aging"
With the baby boomers now well
into their second half of life, the whole area of aging
and how to make its effect more manageable is of
considerable interest. From architects who will be
designing public spaces used by a growing proportion of
middle-aged people to household appliances and gadgets,
the field of creating spaces and objects for this group
is far more important than in the past. In a general
way, this article looks at some of the larger issues for
you to keep in mind when designing a home or purchasing
items which you intend to use for decades to come. With
everybody increasingly intent on recycling and
reclamation under the banner of moderation, the era of
throwaway is coming to an end.
Acuity is the ability to easily
see edges and lines to distinguish shapes. Acuity
diminishes for both near and distance sight as we age.
Designs once so pleasing in youth, those with amorphous
shapes and merging colors, require detective work to see
clearly in mid life. More in tune with this new reality
are sharply defined angles and cleanly edged designs
that stand out against a background rather than merge or
fade into it. Time to reflect upon a surface before it
changes to accommodate the slightly longer time to
inculcate what is seen is the hallmark of advertisements
targeted for both youth and old age.
Larger door-pulls, handles and
knobs are in order for mid life and beyond. Larger grips
don't require as much dexterity as smaller ones and
surfaces with a skid resistant coating are still easier
to hold on to. Latches that can be pushed down rather
than knobs that turn make doors easier to open. The same
goes for pressure- sensitive drawers that just require a
slight push anywhere on the front to make them open
enough so that a person may easily grip the edge with
both hands to open them fully.
Houses for the aging should
have a sound system with several speakers per room and
many speakers throughout the home. A system can easily
be installed with wall mounted microphones so that it
can also be used as a communication mechanism between
rooms. In particular, kitchens and bathrooms where
accidents are mostly likely to occur stand to benefit
from such apparatuses.
Crowded furnishings and
shelving inside storage units are frustrating when the
mind tends to forget. Easily labeled shelving and
duplicate visual storage for extra glasses, keys,
scissors and other frequently used necessities make life
less unsettling especially when the memory is likely to
become more rather than less erratic.
This column is not meant to be
negative for signs of aging do not mean that a person is
not active, healthy and fully in possession of all
mental faculties. The fact is that the body does slow
down over time. My 94-year old Aunt published her first
book at the age of 80 and is still going strong, writing
almost daily while leading a very active interesting
life. It does not matter when the changes happen, at 49
or 94, if you are blessed to live a long time you will
notice some differences in your response to the stimuli
from the environment.
Nancilee Wydra is the most published American author on feng
shui. Her last
two books are "Feng Shui Goes to the Office" March 2000 and
"Feng Shui for
Children's Spaces," November 2000. She teaches nationwide professional
certification classes (www.windwater.com)
and has a free Website with 100 answers
to the most frequently asked feng shui questions, (www.EfengshuiUSA.com). She
can be reached at 1-888-488-FSIA
Nancilee's Current "RX for Living" Column
Nancilee's September 2000 "RX for Living" Column
Nancilee's August 2000 "RX for Living" Column
Nancilee's July 2000 "RX for Living" Column
Nancilee's June 2000 "RX for Living" Column
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