Thinking Bigger: Making an Accessible Home Out of a Small House

Are you a person with a disability living in a small home?  Is maneuvering around your home in a wheelchair more of a challenge than you desire?  Are you finding it hard to get organized and accomplish tasks because things are in the way or out of reach?  Before you give up and move to a new or different home, consider your options for improving the home you have.

Read More Thinking Bigger: Making an Accessible Home Out of a Small House

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Aging In Place

Our friends at SES Insurance Brokerage Services just published the 2nd Quarter Newsletter with a great article from our very own Jane Hampton.  We have reposted the full article below or you can read it in the SES Insurance Brokerage Services 2nd Quarter Newsletter.

Baby boomers are changing how and where they are choosing to grow old. Studies show that individuals over 65 don’t relocate unless they have to. As people grow older, it is common to lose mobility and to be affected by various health concerns – as a result, homeowners often find that their homes cannot accommodate their changing needs. So what are their options? They can move into a facility where they will receive greater care and have built in accommodations for their physical needs, they can sell their home and relocate to one with more accessible features, or they can make the necessary adjustments to their existing home. Naturally, many individuals are inclined to stay in their homes – despite the challenges that this presents. In fact, in a study by the AARP in 2000, 83% of individuals over the age of 45 stated that they plan to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

The choice to remain living at home, with the addition of any necessary accommodations, is called “aging in place,” and it is becoming more prevalent as baby boomers begin to enter this stage of life. Many people are choosing to incorporate design features and products that will not only accommodate their needs today, but allow flexibility for any short term or permanent health conditions that they may be affected by in the future. And the reality is, adding accessible features to a home at any stage is an investment in the home, as well as in the quality of life of the homeowner.

This movement towards aging in place is starting to have a significant impact on the housing market, as well as the housing needs for our aging population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of individuals over the age of 65 is expected to grow rapidly between the years 2010 and 2030, resulting in an approximate increase of 36% from the year 2000. It is anticipated that the availability of accessible home options will fall far short in meeting this growing need. This means that not only will seniors have a difficult time finding accessible homes to which they can relocate; they will also have a difficult time selling their home, as the younger generation will have fewer potential buyers. With this in mind, the concept of aging in place naturally becomes more desirable and practical.

When many people think of aging in place, images of grab bars and ramps come to mind. While these items are often used to make a home accessible, the foundation of an accessible home lies in much simpler features that can, and should, be incorporated any time a home is remodeled. With the correct architectural features in place, individuals of all ages and abilities can live comfortably for years. And as necessary, grab bars and other product solutions can be added with much greater ease and much less cost. For this reason, it is never too early to consider broadening the usability of a home by building in accessible features.

When modifying an existing home to incorporate aging in place features, it is essential to work with professionals who are experienced with this specialty area of design. A team of designers, architects, home access specialists and occupational therapists, with the knowledge and resources necessary to meet this challenge, can help create flexible, livable environments that will endure the natural progression of a lifetime. Their expertise is invaluable for implementing an effective plan to eliminate mistakes and avoid substantial cost overruns made by contractors and individuals unfamiliar with aging in place concepts.

For many seniors, a health crisis often forces them to face these decisions when they realize their home is not flexible enough to accommodate their changing physical needs. Rather than waiting for an urgent need to arise, a person who is over 35 and interested in staying in their home forever should consider incorporating basic accessible features any time they are making modifications or repairs to their home. By investing the time to evaluate their home at a young age and find creative solutions to increase flexibility, they will improve usability in their home today and save money in the long run. The result will be a home that increases independence and safety, while maintaining beauty and ease of maintenance, and most importantly, avoiding premature relocation.

- By Jane Hampton

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Access Features for People with Visual Impairments

Many building and remodeling contractors have some ideas as to what could be done for wheelchair access, but most are at a loss as to what features can be incorporated for diminishing eyesight. This process takes time, effort and expertise; and the access solutions should be customized to each individual’s needs.

Read the full article on disaboom.com
Access Features for People with Visual Impairments

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Preparing Your Home for Visitors with Disabilities: Accessibility Issues

Will you soon be entertaining a guest with a disability or are you an individual with a disability?  There are many things that can be done to temporarily make any home more accessible and user-friendly for visitors with disabilities.  Read the article from Disaboom.com to find out more.  Contact us with any questions if you think we can help.
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Grab Bars for Bathrooms: What You Should Know Before Installation

The type of shower determines the installation method and products needed to have a successful installation. State Building Codes and Federal accessibility guidelines for public buildings require grab bars be installed to support a minimum 250 pounds.

Read More  Grab Bars for Bathrooms: What You Should Know Before Installation

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Schroeder Update

The Desire to Age in Place Despite an Uncertain Future

Remodeling their home became the best choice for Mike and Ann Schroeder after examining the alternatives and the feasibility of alternative housing. Mike has a degenerative nerve disease that progressively affects mobility. As his wife Ann told Accessibility Design when the project began, “We’re not old, we’re disabled. We’re continuing to live our lives, but how do we do that?” The uncertainty of a prognosis is the biggest challenge in designing for a person with a degenerative

disease. With experience in flexible design, Accessibility Design was ableto provide a solution that offered options for the future.

Combining Technology and Details to Solve a Problem

A customized integration of specialty products, space planning and architectural features was  important in developing a design that would meet the demands of Mike’s uncertain future and maintain the beauty of their home.

The couple’s current hobbies and family-oriented lifestyle were strong considerations as well.

Accessibility Design’s solution included:

A full home modification including: a master bedroom suite, renovated kitchen/dining area, main level mud-room/laundry room, and a bathroom/therapy area in the basement.

An open space plan on the main level. Raised garden and patio area. Two accessible entrances/egress routes. Custom furniture with an ergonomic design (e.g., bench adjacent to “cubbies” and point-of-use storage in mud-room useable from a sitting position).

Elevator with five stops: main level, second level, garage, and basement.

Two ceiling mounted track systems: one in master bedroom suite, the other in basement bathroom / therapy area.

A progressive neurological disease was robbing Mike of the ability to get around the house. So creating an accessible area in our home and planning for the future was a must. Little did we know that Accessibility Design would guide us through the process and help us develop a safe and beautiful home where Mike can live independently as long as possible. Many thanks for our amazing new world.”

- Mike and Ann Schroeder

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Accessible Home Modifications in Rental Housing

Do you live in rental housing and find you are in needed of architectural modifications to accommodate a disability? Do you think because you live in rental housing you can not make any architectural changes? …or has your landlord denied your request to make changes to your rental unit?

Full article on disaboom.com
Accessible Home Modifications in Rental Housing

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Tax Deductions for Accessible Home Modifications

Have you spent money during the last year on home modifications or installing special equipment in your home to accommodate a medical condition or disability? You will be pleased to know that you may be able to recoup some, if not all, of the costs. Both the Federal Government and many states offer tax incentives for individuals making accessibility modifications to their home.

Full article on disaboom.com
Tax Deductions for Accessible Home Modifications

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Accessible Home Remodeling? Check the Contract Carefully

When it comes to hiring a contractor and signing a contract, it is important to make sure your home and finances are protected. Each contractor presents their bid in a different manner indicating what they will be doing and how much it will cost.

Read the full article on disaboom.com
Accessible Home Remodeling? Check the Contract Carefully

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Lake Access: Getting From the Cabin to the Lake With a Mobility Impairment

If you have lakeside property with a steep hill down to the lake, have you noticed that the slope is becoming more and more difficult to navigate?

There are many reasons why negotiating steep slopes become very difficult … but there are options to assist you in making your lake property accessible.

Read the full article on disaboom.com
Lake Access: Getting From the Cabin to the Lake With a Mobility Impairment

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