Results matching “Aging-in-Place,”

Futureproofing with Universal Design

If you don't build with Universal Design from the start at least build thinking of it as a possible future option:


Russ Glickman, president of Glickman Design Build,... reached a ... crossroad more than 20 years ago when he learned that his son, Michael, has cerebral palsy. Although a highly-regarded professional with over 33 design awards to his credit, the North Potomac remodeler suddenly realized that there were considerations to universal design -- a specialty building discipline -- that he hadn't mastered, and that even the most experienced professionals were still learning.

"Every special-needs scenario is unique," Glickman points out. "Accessibility planning, aging-in-place, universal design ... each area has distinctive protocols and a lot of professional literature to absorb. But, beyond this, you want a plan that is appropriately rationalized for every member of a household."

"On that score, a new model home is difficult to retrofit -- mainly because developers aren't prepared to plan for these kinds of contingencies."

Source:

Don't think it applies to you? Most people don't. That's what this humorous Berlitz ad plays with:


Bonnie Lewkowicz is founder of Access Northern California, author of the accessibility guide to San Francisco and the book "A Wheelchair Rider's Guide: San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast." Her current research on trails accessibility in Northern California has given me an excuse to head out with tape measure, camera, and notebook to explore the region.


Before I share some observations on the area around Mendocino California I thought it would be helpful to republish the series of questions I prepared for the Geotourism Challenge applicants a couple years ago on the triple bottom line approach to tourism:


Questions for Geotourism Projects

Scott Rains, The Rolling Rains Report

www.RollingRains.com

srains@oco.net

 

An estimated 10% of those traveling at any point in time have a disability. These include not only people with visible aids such as wheelchairs or white canes but also many people with disabilities that are not immediately obvious to the unaware observer.  Yet "invisible" disabilities, too, can profoundly impact the travel behavior of people who experience them, for example disabilities that affect hearing, speaking, reading, reading social signals, or other communication.

The United Nations estimates there are 500 million people with disabilities in the world while a study by Open Doors Organization in 2002 demonstrated that the 42+ million Americans with disabilities spent $13.6 billion annually on travel. How is this market and this cultural phenomenon addressed by the tourism industry?

To be considered ecologically sustainable a project must be socially sustainable. That is, it must be realistic in accounting for the human needs and cultural variation among those it impacts. The following questions are meant to stimulate your thinking about how successful you have been in accommodating the diversity of capacities of travelers in ways that make earth-sensitive tourism projects open to all.

 

·         Do you provide information in various formats so that it can be independently accessed by users who may or may not be sighted, hearing, English-speaking, literate?

·         Do you follow best online practices in Universal Design such as W3C WAI or Section 508 (a US web accessibility law) standards?

·         Does the information you provide include the sort of information that is essential for someone who, for example, uses a wheelchair, travels with a companion animal, or is short of stature , or needs sign language interpreters to participate in certain activities? If not, has that information been collected and made readily accessible for when a traveler requests it from you?

·         Does your knowledge of place and local culture include explicit knowledge of the local cultures of disability ( i.e Local sign language dialects, crafts or professional niches traditionally held by persons with disabilities, historical figures of note who had disabilities?)

·         Does the marketing material you provide portray people with disabilities respectfully? (Does it portray them at all?)

·         Have you made an attempt to employ persons with disabilities? To seek them out as consultants in product development, marketing, and evaluation? Employ them on an ongoing basis? ?  If so, are they only assigned tasks related to disability issues?  Or do you also employ workers with disabilities in your mainstream initiatives as well?

·         If you provide a service to someone without a disability have you designed that service so that it is accessible to all or created an alternate system to accomplish an equivalent result?

·         If such service requires additional or modified equipment have you attempted to limit the environmental impact of the accommodation (i.e. Does your wheelchair lift-equipped vehicle operate on biodiesel?)

·         Have you implemented the insight, adopted in the LEED (green building) Certification specifications, that building accessibility is a necessity and is an environmentally practice because it extends the functionality of a building for its occupants (i.e. aging-in-place, visitability, lifespan design)? Retrofitting to correct a space that excludes uses more resources and produces waste material.

Reading on LEED Certification and inclusion:

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001457.html

·         Are you aware that the Responsible Tourism Movement specifies accessibility for all as central to its definition of responsible tourism?

Readings on the Responsible Tourism Movement: http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/002134.html

·         Did you know that participation in sports, leisure activities, and tourism is a right guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD; see Article 30)? Do you know if the country or countries you operate in are signatories of the CRPD or have similar national legislation and what your legal obligations are under each?

Readings on CRPD Article 30:

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Scott-Rains/tourism-in-the-united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-crpd.html

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Scott-Rains/tag/crpd

·         If your project involves access to the water have you familiarized yourself with the Waypoint/Backstrom Principles on accessibility of maritime environments:

Readings on the Waypoint/Backstrom Principles:

http://www.waypointcharter.com/Waypoint-BackstromPrinciples-Sept2008.htm

·         Have you reviewed your program using the seven principles of Universal Design (http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?option=Content&Itemid=25):

   1.      Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users.

   2.      Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

   3.      Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

   4.      Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

   5.      Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

   6.      Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

   7.      Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

·         The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are part of the response of the tourism community to the global challenges of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Interest in poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability are highlighted in the criteria. How might your work be enhanced by applying the criteria to travelers, employees, and destination residents with disabilities?

Readings on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria:

http://www.sustainabletourismcriteria.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=188

 

Read more at "Inclusive Tourism:Inclusive Design in the Passionate Embrace of Wanderlust:

http://www.rollingrains.com/2009/12/inclusive-tourism--.html

 

 

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Scott Rains - RollingRains.jpg
To date I have held off applying to this year's Geotourism Challenge because the sponsors (Ashoka Foundation and National Geographic) have asked me to serve as a Featured Commentator.

The following is a set of questions I have prepared for the applicants. The application process is still open. Consider applying and feel free to suggest questions to me in addition to the following:


Questions for Geotourism 2009 Nominees

An estimated 10% of those traveling at any point in time have a disability. Many more of those disabilities affect sight and hearing than is apparent with the easily identified wheelchair or cane user. Many disabilities are virtually invisible to the observer - yet they profoundly impact the travel behavior of those who experience them.
To be considered ecologically sustainable a project must be socially sustainable. That is, it must be realistic in accounting for the human needs and cultural variation among those it impacts. The following questions are meant to stimulate your thinking about how successful you have been in accommodating the diversity of capacities of travelers to make an earth-sensitive project open to all.

•    Do you provide information in various formats so that it can be independently accessed by users who may or may not be sighted, hearing, English-speaking, literate?


•    Do you follow best online practices in Universal Design such as W3C WAI or Section 508 (a US web accessibility law) standards?

•    Does the information you provide include the sort of information that is essential for someone who, for example, uses a wheelchair, travels with a companion animal, or is short of stature? If not, has that information been collected and made readily accessible for when a traveler requests it from you?

•    Does your knowledge of place and local culture include explicit knowledge of the local cultures of disability ( i.e Local sign language dialects, crafts or professional niches traditionally held by persons with disabilities, historical figures of note who had disabilities?)

•    Does the marketing material you provide portray people with disabilities respectfully? (Does it portray them at all?)

•    Have you made an attempt to employ persons with disabilities? To seek them out as consultants in product development, marketing, and evaluation? Employ them on an ongoing basis?

•    If you provide a service to someone without a disability have you designed that service so that it is accessible to all or created an alternate system to accomplish an equivalent result?


•    If such service requires additional or modified equipment have you attempted to limit the environmental impact of the accommodation
(i.e Does your wheelchair lift-equipped vehicle operate on biodiesel?)

  • Have you implemented the insight, adopted in the LEED (green building) Certification specifications, that building accessibility is a necessity and is an environmentally practice because it extends the functionality of a building for its occupants (i.e. aging-in-place, visitability, lifespan design)? Retrofitting to correct a space that excludes uses more resources and produces waste material.

Reading on LEED Certification and inclusion:

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/001457.html



•    Are you aware that the Responsible Tourism Movement specifies accessibility for all as central to its definition of responsible tourism?

Readings on the Responsible Tourism Movement:

http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/002134.html

•    Did you know that participation in sports, leisure activities, and tourism is a right guaranteed in the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD; see Article 30)? Do you know if the country or countries you operate in are signatories of the CRPD or have similar national legislation and what your legal obligations are under each?

Readings on CRPD Article 30:

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Scott-Rains/tourism-in-the-united-nations-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-crpd.html

http://blogs.bootsnall.com/Scott-Rains/tag/crpd

•    If your project involves access to the water have you familiarized yourself with the Waypoint/Backstrom Principles on accessibility of maritime environments?

Readings on the Waypoint/Backstrom Principles:

http://www.waypointcharter.com/Waypoint-BackstromPrinciples-Sept2008.htm

•    Have you reviewed your program using the seven principles of Universal Design?
(http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?option=Content&Itemid=25):

   1.      Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users.
   2.      Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
   3.      Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
   4.      Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
   5.      Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
   6.      Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
   7.      Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.

  • The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria are part of the response of the tourism community to the global challenges of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Interest in poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability are highlighted in the criteria. How might your work be enhanced by applying the criteria to travelers, employees, and destination residents with disabilities?

Readings on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria:

http://www.sustainabletourismcriteria.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=188



Further Reading:

OSSN Blog on Geotourism Challenge 2009
http://www.ossn.com/blog/template_permalink.asp?id=185





Rolling Rains Leaders Interview:

Esther Greenhouse Environmental Gerontologist

Interview by Monica Guy

A powerful advocate of inclusive design and an expert on issues around aging in place, Esther Greenhouse was acknowledged for her efforts in January 2009 with the prestigious Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) of the Year award. An experienced speaker and articulate writer, here she explains CAPS, her own work in gerontology and training, and her visions for the future:

How did the CAPS program come about?

In 2000, the US non-profit organisation AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) conducted a study entitled 'Fixing to Stay", in which 83% of respondents aged 45 and older reported that they wanted to remain in their own homes until the end of life. AARP then approached the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and together they developed the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program.

Has the CAPS program made any impact? Has awareness increased, have attitudes changed?

Recently, I was cleaning out my professional library, and found publications by AARP and other groups delineating the needs for and explaining the details of aging in place and housing needs for seniors. These documents were 20-25 years old. Why is this relevant?  Because while both experts and society have known about the huge growth of the aging population for the last 30-60 years, we have all been slow to act.

There has however, been a significant shift towards addressing issues around the ageing population in the last 5-10 years. Why? In part because we can no longer ignore them, but also due to increased awareness and training via the CAPS program. The professionals have the awareness and training to address the needs of the consumers, and now have the resources in knowledgeable professionals.

How did you get involved?

Nearly 20 years ago I was the first Interior Design student in my college to pursue the then-new Gerontology program. Conducting a semester-long review of housing options for seniors, I came to the conclusion that aging in place was the ideal. I then committed to making this a reality for many via my professional work.

My husband is a builder, and very active in the builder's association. Through him, I learned about the CAPS program. I pursued the designation, and then realized that here was a powerful means of achieving my goal. Teaching CAPS is extremely rewarding - I have the opportunity to raise awareness, inform, and inspire 10-15 professionals during each two-day session. I know that each one in turn will then go out and help dozens to perhaps hundreds of people throughout their career. Plus, those accessible homes will be around to enable people to live independently for generations.

In August, I will begin a PhD program in which I will focus on funding options for accessible home modifications. I intend to analyze the existing government programs, and then make recommendations for revisions, or develop a new model or program. There will also be a sustainability component to my work.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis, and how does this fit into the bigger picture?

My work varies daily, which I really enjoy. Several times a year, I teach the CAPS classes. Other than that, I work to build relationships with non-profit organizations like Independent Living Centers (www.ilusa.com/links/ilcenters.htm). I send frequent emails to my former CAPS students, to make them aware of new issues and articles. I also try to help them form relationships with each other: for example, by introducing an occupational therapist to a remodeler in the same region, or two designers who are miles apart but may serve as sounding boards for one another. I speak at seminars and conferences as well.

I also have a young child who comes first, as much as possible, so I try to build my work schedule around him.

Recently, I was invited to join a new group at Cornell focusing on the intersection of an aging society and environmental problems. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this work, and to collaborate with a wide range of researchers to address these issues. Spending the afternoon brainstorming about the direction to go in, hearing about issues which are new to me, knowing that this is the first step in making a difference, these are meaningful ways to spend my time.

How do you see yourself? A researcher, a campaigner, a business woman?

Recently, the National Association of Home Builders published an article about me on their website, in which they called me a 'business woman'. In my case, I am not a business woman. I consider myself an advocate and educator. Much of the work I do is pro-bono.

I had a two-year research appointment which ended this past October (the grant ended). Shortly beforehand, my husband asked, "What will you do next?" I explained that my gut was telling me to focus on advocacy, and ideally, enough paid teaching opportunities would come along to enable that. So far they have.

Originally I trained as an interior designer. I think it is important for CAPS professionals to come from a wide variety of backgrounds, the more multidisciplinary the better. One hallmark of the CAPS curriculum is the emphasis on having a multidisciplinary team of professionals working together to address the aging in place needs. When you have an OT and remodeler work together, you are more likely to a successful, enabling environment. This is one of the hallmarks of the CAPS curriculum.

Do you find that society's attitudes to people with disabilities are changing now that the population is ageing?


I have always been a gerontologist, but since becoming a CAPS instructor I have been thrilled to find that the needs of people with disabilities are now coming into the mainstream, along with the renewed attention on accessible homes for seniors. More and more, the lines between age-related disabilities and non age-related disabilities are blurring. I feel that this is the next big wave in our society - a new level of awareness and understanding for persons of various abilities and needs. It has been growing for decades, but there is a significant shift now.

Disabled Iraqi veterans are changing society's views as well, in terms of not simply accepting what they can no longer do, and relegating them to a life of limited opportunity. Many veterans are showing us that their abilities have changed, but that they can still lead rewarding lives if we don't stand in their way. People over 50 have been doing that too, for the past 20-30 years. Today's definition and concept of what it means to be "old" has changed dramatically in my lifetime.

I wish I could say that all of the shift we are having and will have is due to increased awareness and demand. But actually two of the biggest factors driving the change are legislation and litigation. Determined advocacy groups like Concrete Change and others are working very hard on two fronts: firstly, to promote 'Visitability' and to have Visitability ordinances passed; and secondly, to sue developers and landlords of multi-family housing who are in violation of the Fair Housing Act.


How do you see the situation for seniors and people with disabilities 50 years from now?

Terrific! These issues are the next big wave which our society will address. I see a society where we have embraced abilities and disabilities as a continuum, rather than as distinct, restricted groups.

Do other countries have similar projects? If not, should they? How do you recommend they should go about setting them up?

Absolutely! When I co-presented our seminar 'Green Building and Aging in Place: Building Homes to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century' at the International Builders Show, I was later contacted by Jean-Christophe Vanderhagen, Director General of the Confederation of Construction. Mr. Vanderhagen also serves as Chairman of the European Committee of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (www.iahsa.net).

What advice can you give to older people who want to remain at home until end of life, but don't know how to go about making the necessary adaptations?

First and foremost understand that the design of your home is the issue, not you. If you move to a lovely senior community, or assisted living, it will only enable you to thrive if it is properly designed.

If you live in the US, go to the following page on AARP's website and search for a CAPS professional in your region who can work with you to modify your home: www.aarp.org/family/housing/articles/caps.html

Tell us about your work assisting the city of Ithaca in its bid for the Accessible America award

I have only been able to have limited involvement due to scheduling conflicts. My assistance to them has been very minimal. However, it has served to further raise my awareness of the obstacles faced by persons with disabilities, and drives home the point that aging in place is a complex societal goal, which encompasses home design, transportation services, medical services, sidewalks, snow removal, among many others.

In conclusion...anything else you want to tell the world about?

Yes!  Do not underestimate the power of the built environment to enable, or disable, to uplift, or depress, to limit you, or to help you thrive!  

Think of the great cathedrals of Europe - wonderful examples of how the built environment can make you feel: small in the presence of the Almighty, uplifted by the soaring spaces, enraptured by the exquisite artwork. Through the proper design of the built environment, we can actually delay or prevent institutionalization for millions of people.

How can we not address this? This concept is nothing new, but that does not make it any less important.


Further Reading:

AARP study: http://www.aarp.org/research/reference/publicopinions/aresearch-import-783.html

CAPS web page:
http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=9334


About Monica Guy:
http://www.monicaguy.co.uk/


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Stweardship remodeling.jpg


Mike Vowels of Stewardship Remodeling has just published an article on sustainability's triple bottom line for the Eastside Business Journal - Sustainability and Remodeling your Home.. He observes that "Only in the past five years, however, has sustainability become a catchword capable of capturing the attention not only of environmental scientists and activists but also of (some) mainstream economists, other social scientists, and policymakers.'

He goes on to succinctly make the case. Note his approach. It's quotable:

Potentially, sustainability can have a three-prong effect on the remodeling plans for your home, as follows:

* Environmental Sustainability (e.g., Green Remodeling Practices). * Economic Sustainability (e.g., Return on Investment & future Marketability of your home). * Social Sustainability (e.g., your design changes enable you to live in the comfort and safety of your home much longer).

“Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. Universal Design focuses on Social Sustainability which relates to basic needs such as freedom, happiness, safety and dignity.”

Chris Farrell of Business Week takes a look at the trend toward aging in place. Predictably the conversation turns to that contribution of the US Disability Rights Movement to global society: Universal Design:

Overall, remodeling activity is falling at an annual rate of 4.8% in 2008, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. But the fastest-growing segment of the remodeling industry is overhauling homes for the 50-plus crowd.

Making your home a place where you can grow old comfortably doesn't mean littering it with sterile-looking devices reminiscent of nursing homes. The trend is to "universal design," which calls for safe, easy-to-use appliances that blend in with their environment. Doorknobs are replaced with handles (easier to open), lights made brighter (for aging eyes), door frames widened (for wheelchair access), and grab bars installed in the shower. "It's no one thing," says George Cundy, architect with the firm Cundy, Santine & Associates in Shoreview, Minn. "It's a combination of things that makes the difference so you can stay there."

"Valerie Cooper thought the special features in her new Venice home would come in handy some day. She had no idea that day would come so soon" writes Victor Hull in the Herald Trubune.

Coral Nafie, who writes tjhe Interior Decorating section at About.com has a good collection of resources on Universal Design It has a consumer orientation so does not include a link to another good site Adaptive Environments and their excellent resource pages.

Sometimes, all that is necessary is a quote. Dan Bawden writes for Legal Eagle Contractors to make a point even better than I could do it myelf:


The Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) is one of the only locations in the country offering regular certification classes in Aging-in-Place/Universal design. We designed the [Certified Aging in Place Specialist] CAPS certification for people involved in residential design and construction says Bawden. Its a welcome surprise that the CAPS training classes also bring in realtors, architects, ASID Designers, and occupational therapists.
CAPSlogo.jpg


As design-build remodelers, we discuss the wisdom of planning ahead with aging-in-place ideas with all our clients from the beginning - young and old says Howie Sussman, a Project Manager for Legal Eagle, adding Things like lever handle faucets, grab bars, raised washers, dryers, and dishwashers are good universal design ideas for everyone, from seniors to grandchildren. Its a no-brainer.

Realtors used to worry that universal design or visitable home would decrease a homes value, having a hospital-like look. They are finding out that the opposite is true. If attractive, non-institutional products and handsome design ideas are used, the value of that home actually increases, according to Bawden.

"And thankfully so," writes Christiana Nelson in the Coloradan:


Homes have changed because home-building practices have changed. These days, buyers are driving a move to encourage builders to construct housing that's more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and adapts with them as they age and change.

"There's a trend to make homes more accessible from the get-go," said Steve Spanjer, president of Spanjer Homes. "You never know what could happen in life. It is easy to do from the get-go, and it can make someone's life better in the future."

As the July 26 anniversary of the ADA approaches various encouraging news items are being circulated.

Here is one from Business Week counseling Universal Design as the standard when remodeling your home in an article titles, "Remodeling for the Future."

Here is an announcement on a collaboration between Easter Seals and Century 21 regarding Universal Design for homes.

There are Architectural Access Scholarships available from Evan Terry Associates, P.C.

And here is an account of the lack of affordable well-design housing a Cape Cod http://rismedia.com/index.php/article/articleview/11013/1/1/

Design for Everybody

Universal design in the single family home market is not something limited to Canada, Japan, the EU, the US, or Australia as one might assume from the examples given at The Rolling Rains Report. The first model Universal Design home in Brazil is being showcased by Marcondes Perito and features design solutions from around the world.

Notice that their definition of Universal Design (Desenho Universal) includes Visitability:
"Freqentvel por visitantes - Todo ambiente construdo usado por dois grupos, os que o usam e os que o visitam."

It is also justified by the aging-in-place argument:


Tambm a populao brasileira est envelhecendo e nossos idosos querem continuar vivendo em suas prprias casas, inseridos na comunidade qual esto acostumados, o que muito saudvel, pois, essa permanncia na casa, alm de manter a integrao social dos mais velhos, diminuindo a segregao e o preconceito, coloca no mercado consumidor essa crescente e importante parcela da populao.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Google Alerts II: "Universal Design"

One way to eliminate any doubts that Universal Design is becoming mainstream is to set up daily Google Alerts.

A Google Alert is a robot that uses Google technology to spider through the internet collecting information that y ou specifcy. The post on February 2, Using Google Alerts, explained how to set one up.

Here are some recent finds - notice how they cluster around construction of single family dwellings, remodelling, aging-in-place, etc. Watch for them to start showing up in articles on hotels, motels, and resorts.

This is the first mainstream article I have read on an increasingly common trend -- the convergence of universal design in home construction and the design of recreational lodging and vacation properties.

Here is documentation that movements in transgenerational home design, aging-in-place, home vistability, and inclusive travel have proven their economic sustainability.

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