Future proofing homes without compromising on design

According to the Office of National Statistics the UK population has been steadily getting older. Currently around seventeen percent of the population is over 65 and this trend is expected to rise to over 23% by 2035.

Although this has resulted in a strong demand for luxury care homes, retirement apartments, assisted living housing and care homes, the need to address future proofing requirements for later life is often overlooked in the residential housing sector. Self-builders on the other hand are more likely to fully embrace the notion of future proofing given that the average age for a self-builder is around 55-64. This is perhaps not a huge surprise given this age range usually has accumulated equity over time and would have an expectation of spending around 20-30 years enjoying life in their dream home.

Incorporating a few key elements into a layout, such as single or double pocket doors, can eliminate any major restructuring in later years, should accessibility become an issue.

The beauty of pocket doors is that they are beneficial for people with reduced mobility, in a wheelchair, with impaired vision or with reduced grip/motor skills whilst still being aesthetically pleasing.

Pocket doors are top hung so a threshold strip is not required and there is no obstruction or trip hazard. The fact that the door disappears into a pocket in the wall means that it frees up usable space. This also means the leading edge of the door does not protrude into the room as with a hinged door which can be a hazard to a person who is partially sighted.

Traditional hinged doors have a dead zone. There is an arc of space required to swing open a hinged door and this is space that cannot be used. Pocket doors give you back that space and open up possibilities for alternative layouts. Although pocket doors are a little more expensive to install than traditional hinged doors, they deliver a clear monetary benefit by increasing usable space; it is possible to gain up to 8 sqm of usable space in a 100 sqm layout.

Having extra usable space and more layout options can be useful when considering reduced mobility in later life. For wheelchair users our pocket door system can be installed with a minimum effective clear opening width of 800mm and above. If required a glazed or partially glazed door can be added to the system for visibility and the door can be installed with an easy to hold bar handle instead of a flush pull. The distance the door protrudes out of the pocket when installed can be adjusted to accommodate the requirements of a variety of easy to drip handles. Rather than a glazed door, an ECLISSE Glass Pocket Door can be installed. These comprise of an ECLISSE frame with a frameless glass door tempered to European standards that come in a variety of attractive designs and finishes. Either way the end result is an aesthetically pleasing door that ticks all the accessibility boxes without looking utilitarian. For additional accessibility it is possible to automate an ECLISSE pocket door. The existing track can be extracted and an ECLISSE E-motion track can be fitted to automate the pocket doors. This facilitates automatic opening and closing either by switch, remote control or radar. If required it is also possible to fit an ECLISSE pocket door system that will work with a ceiling hoist track to pass through the door opening.

So for all these reasons plus the fact that ECLISSE pocket door systems are easy to assemble and install, come with a 15 year guarantee and are tested to 25 years of average use, it is unsurprising that our systems have become the system of choice for care homes, assisted-living and retirement projects and for self-builders who want to future proof their dream homes.