Floor plan, green features a good fit

George and Mary Ann Smith, 71, sold their Suwanee home to move into a newly built ranch condominium in the active adult communityBrookhaven at Lanier Ridge in Cumming. Mary Ann, a former teacher, chatted about their new home by Jim Chapman Communities.

Q: Why was it important to have a first level floor plan?

A: My husband had a stroke in ’96. He was doing fine in our three-story house until he had a mini stroke in the fall of ’09. He walks with a cane. His leg, it was getting more and more difficult for him to go up and down the stairs. It was just time to move on.

Q: What aging-in-place features are in the home?

A: It looks like a normal home, but all the doorways are wide. All the doors have the levered handles, as opposed to the round ones that are harder for someone with arthritis to turn. They also put an outlet in the base of the stairs that should either of us need a chair lift to go upstairs, it could be installed.

Q: Did you have to downsize your possessions?

A: I still have a little bit more than I should have. To come out of a five-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a full basement into this home, and to be able to do it fairly easily, I thought was a test to the planning of the floor plans.

Q: Did you add in any energy-efficient features?

A: I wanted the low-e [low-emissivity] glass in my screened porch to keep down the heat in the summer, and they did that. We have a tankless water heater.

Q: How would you describe the relationships in an active adult neighborhood like yours?

A: We look out for each other. We have get-togethers monthly at the clubhouse, which has a fire pit and a pool. We have one family who has a houseboat on Lake Lanier and we all had a meal together on their houseboat.

Q: So, was this a good move for you and your husband?

A: We want to live here the rest of our lives.