Designing a Home to Accommodate Alzheimer’s

Designing a Home to Accommodate Alzheimer’s

By Kelly Vencill Sanchez / Photos by Coral von Zumwalt
For a couple coping with Alzheimer’s, a thoughtful addition creates a comfortable, long-term solution.

When Claire and Ken Stevens first contemplated building an addition to their home, it was plain that their needs had undergone a sea change since 1973, when L. Jane Hastings, a pioneering Pacific Northwest architect, had designed their house in the trees. Set on a tranquil, wooded site in Tacoma, Washington, the bi-level structure is filled with artwork, books, and one-of-a-kind treasures collected around the world—testaments to the couple’s rich and varied life together. When Ken was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, architectural features that they had once negotiated without a thought—the steps leading to the front door, the two-step changes of level inside, the flight of stairs to the bedroom and master bathroom—all became potential hazards.

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