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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dr. Bergin on Retirees in Tiny Houses

Texas Orthopedics' Dr. Barbara Bergin was recently quoted in an article on a financial website, Go Banking Rates, about retirees considering a tiny house for their twilight years.

When many people are on the brink of retirement, they often get the urge to downsize and scale back. Tiny houses are proving to be a popular option for those craving a smaller space and decreased cost of living.

Dr. Bergin cautions though that there may be a few challenges, from an orthopedic standpoint, that comes with tiny house dwelling.
  • Unexpected Mobility Issues
    • A change in mobility is a reality for a vast number of seniors, putting a damper on not only all the activities they had planned for in retirement, but also the simple tasks in everyday life. Getting around a tiny house in a wheelchair, or even with a walker, could be near impossible. "The potential temporary or even permanent need for a wheelchair is a reality, no matter how good your condition is when you retire," said Dr. Bergin. "You [might] need the space for doorways and bathrooms, especially around the toilet and shower, to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. A tiny home is not likely to have both a tub and a separate walk-in shower. It doesn't take much disability to render yourself unable to utilize a tub."
  • Difficulty Getting Upstairs
    • Tiny houses often feature a small loft space for the second story, accessible only by a very narrow set of stairs, or sometimes even just a ladder - creating a huge potential for falls and injury. "Even if you're healthy when you retire, the chance that you will someday have difficulty climbing stairs [is] high," said Dr. Bergin.  

Another obstacle is limited access to medical care. Tiny houses often need to be parked in rural areas or outside city limits, and this can be difficult if traveling long distances to regular doctors' appointments or for a medical emergency.

To view the full article, please visit

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