Friday, September 25, 2009

Who Is Universal Design Designed For?

 If you haven't already read and learned about Universal Design on the AK website, let me recommend you do so! Click here to find out what Universal Design is; it's a quick and easy explanation of the concept!

 Now let us tell you a little about the numerous people for whom Universal Design was, well, designed! Of course the commonly used term "Aging In Place" is easily understood to refer to aging adults whose changing abilities require changing environments. Many people who wish to stay in their homes through their retirement are planning ahead to begin adapting their homes for the years to come. AK was asked to write a piece for the Maturity Matters blog as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist about they many ways that people can begin to adapt their current homes. Read that blog here!

   This mature section makes up an extremely large portion of those who benefit from Universal Design. In 2008 the US Administration On Aging concluded that 1 in 8 Americans is aged 65 or older. By 2030 that statistic will jump to 1 in 5! AARP took this study one step further and asked how many of these adults wanted to stay in their homes as they aged. An amazing 90% planned on staying in their current homes throughout their retirement; 50% of those people are planning on remodeling their home to accommodate their future needs. So, I think we have a handle on the fact that the aging population in our country is quickly realizing that Universal Design and Certified Aging in Place Specialists are going to be the best way to age gracefully in their home sweet home!

   But who else needs Universal Design? AK team members attended a Universal Design webinar this week and were honestly surprised to learn that 11 Million people age 6 and over require assistance to accomplish every day activities around the house; and, 10 Million age 15 and over require a wheelchair or a walker. Universal Design can assist these millions and millions of Americans by just making their home a friendlier place for them to accomplish basic tasks. The need may not even be a permanent one! Many people quickly understand the need for this kind of design plan after they experience an injury. Planning ahead for this can sure make life easier, but even making adjustments after the injury will have amazing benefits.

   Another growing group of Universal Design beneficiaries are veterans. Whether they are injured veterans from the current war, returning home to find new challenges in mobility and independence or even older veterans from wars in our past whose combat injuries still cause them pain and mobility issues. This group has the ability to receive assistance from the Veterans Administration to remodel their home to accommodate to their needs. Contact AK to learn more about the possibility of VA grants for Universal Design remodeling.

   Finally we want to introduce you to the term "Visitability." Visitability accommodations are a kind of Universal Design that applies to family and  friends of differently abled individuals who want to make their homes visitable to all abilities. The recession has driven the market for Visitability Accommodations, with multiple generations temporarily living under one roof or family and friends consolidating their households. Hopefully this has given you a better idea about the many reasons to consider Universal Design when beginning ANY remodeling project. AK has Certified Aging in Place Specialists on staff to assist you in planning your next project to ensure you home meets your current and future needs.

Ed Cholfin
Home-Medic
President, CAPS, PMP
Kitchen and Bathroom Designer
"As a Home-Medic my Hippocratic duty is to ensure you receive the ultimate level of service while providing the quality construction necessary to complete your renovation project; ultimately helping to bring your family closer together."

Office: 1-866-282-6231  /  Fax: 1-888-539-6734  /  Cell: 770-335-2694
Email: Ed@AKCompleteHomeRenovations.com

Visit our Website: www.AKAtlanta.com

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Winner of the Atlanta 2007 Contractor of The Year Award for Best Kitchen and
Best Interior, the GuildQuality GuildMaster with Distinction for 2007 & 2008
and the BBB 2008 Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

3 comments:

  1. Read an inspiring story about a woman, a doctor, who became a huge proponent of Universal Design after a devastating accident:

    http://www.rosemariespeaks.com/media/articles/index.cfm?articleID=55

    "I had a great two-story home, promising career, wonderful husband and supportive family. But all that changed while riding my bicycle on a trail in Granville, Ohio, in June 1998. I was crushed by a 3-1/2 ton tree and paralyzed from the waist down....When a person with a disability has a barrier in their home, it creates a handicap. I struggled to push myself in my wheelchair in carpeted rooms. My arms and shoulders were weak. Doors had to be removed so I could enter the laundry room, bathroom and shower. Over half of our house was off limits to me, including Mark’s second floor home office, the guest bedroom and bathroom and the basement...Disabilities can be invisible when barriers are eliminated by architectural design and Mark and I began dreaming of a new home, one that would be totally wheelchair accessible."

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  2. Wow, what an interesting concept. Thanks for writing this. You should design for the aging population, while I keep them fit enough to enjoy their homes! What a team. Thanks for writing this - it helps me to plan for 2030!

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  3. We love it - that's a great idea! We see a partnership in the making! Thanks for the comment, we love your site & your sense of humor!!

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