As someone who has promoted the Universal Design concept for decades, I was taken back by a Futurism video I saw on the Blitab braille tablet. It is billed as “The World’s First Tablet for the Blind”, but that’s not true, and it’s arguably not nearly the best either. That title, in my view, goes to the Apple iPad with all of its accessibility features, but more on that later. This short article explains my concerns with the Blitab product and the company developing it, because they don’t seem to understand their market or target user. I urge any of my blind friends to challenge me on this assertion in the comments below.
Here at Modern Health Talk, you’ll find hundreds of solutions for safe & independent aging-in-place, including dozens of articles about the principles of Universal Design, and numerous photo examples on our Pinterest boards. But today’s guest post brings together many solutions in one article.
Aging at Home: Common Problems & Solutions
By Jessica Hoefer (Here’s the original.)
The most common problems as you age in your home:
- Access to Help
- Food Preparation
- Accommodating In-Home Care
- Good Sleep
- Medication Regimen
- Find a Pro for your home modification
As we get older, many of our homes no longer work as well for us. But most of us want to remain in the homes we love.
Fortunately, there are many solutions, and there are trained experts in home modification all over the country. There are also new tools to address the specific issues of aging.
By Patrick Joseph Roden, PhD (original at aginginplace.com)
It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. (Henry David Thoreau)
Aging in Place
Thoreau’s quote on wisdom reminds us that wisdom seldom leads to doing desperate things. When it comes to aging in place so often it is a “crisis buy,” that is, remodeling for age-friendly living is neglected until a crisis (often a fall) forces the issue. One of my favorite Buddhist sayings is: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…The “student” in this case is the aging home-owner, and they have to be ready before any information on home modification is sought out. But so few are…For those of us in the industry–much of our efforts go into educating the public with the intent of preventing home remodeling decisions fueled by crisis. Which in the long-run are more expensive, stress-provoking, and potentially, too late. Read More …
My 3/23/11 article, You Can’t be too Careful, introduced steps I took getting ready for Grandma to move in. This article follows up with details about changes that were needed for bathroom accessiblity. The objective of these two articles is to encourage you to prepare BEFORE there’s a need when it’s cheaper.
There are lots of choices to make when remodeling a home. We wanted to make things easier for Grandma but without degrading the value of the home, and hopefully increasing its value if possible.
Changing the master bath would not have fit in with our future plans, so we only considered the other two bathrooms. They were virtually mirrored twins, with standard tub, commode, counter and sink configurations. We weighed several options, including going with a special handicap shower set up, or using a general contractor and our own design ideas.
We chose a local contractor that specialized in baths and kitchens and went with a simplified plan that would make the bathroom accessible without making it permanently “handicapped.” For better or worse, we made the design decisions ourselves.
I hoped the remodel would be complete in a couple of weeks. Yeah, right! There was much more to remodeling than I considered.
Is the door to the bath wide enough? Is there room to make it wider? How can we make the sink accessible for someone in a wheel chair? Do we want a handicap accessible shower floor, like the ones you see in some hotel rooms? How high should the toilet be? How much room does Grandma’s bathroom stuff take up? Can she access everything? Will she need to?
The City of Austin last year passed a law requiring all new homes be more visitable and accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Now U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky has introduced a bill that would do the same nationally, at least for homes built with federal dollars. Maybe someone will amend it to catch up with where Austin has been for nearly two years now. Let’s hope so.
Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act Will Make Homes Accessible
By Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 9th congressional district (original on Huffington Post)
9/28/2015 — Today, I introduced the Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act, which would require new homes built with federal dollars to meet accessibility standards — including a zero-step entrance, wheelchair accessible doorways and bathrooms, and climate controls that are at a height reachable from a wheelchair. Above, I announced the introduction of this legislation to advocates at a Rally with the National Council on Independent Living. They support the legislation. Read More …
by Christin Camacho, PR & Content Manager, REDFIN, a next-gen real estate brokerage
Having a home to call one’s own is a giant milestone millions of Americans strive to achieve. Becoming a homeowner brings with it a sense of pride and accomplishment, but the process of becoming one can be intimidating. This is especially true for those with physical or emotional disabilities wishing to attain homeownership. Read More …
Designing Homes for Older Adults
There’s a housing crisis looming for seniors. With baby boomers entering their retirement years at a rapid rate, most housing is not keeping up with their needs. Most older adults say they want to stay in their homes as they age, but most homes are not designed for older bodies that have a hard time with stairs, slippery shower surfaces or hard-to-turn door knobs. Read More …
Can Apple influence the future of homebuilding?
I’ve long been critical of SmartHome marketing hype, and I’ve not been a fan of using speech commands to control home devices, but a Forbes article last week got me thinking and inspired today’s posting. (See Here’s How Apple’s Siri Will Control Your House Under HomeKit Program.)
Apple Understands Accessibility
Homebuilders can learn a lot from Apple when it comes to making homes more accessible and easier to live in. For the most part builders still focus too much on what potential buyers can see in the model home, such as marble entries, granite countertops, textured walls with rounded corners, and Moën faucets with lever handles. They don’t focus enough on foundations, insulation, infrastructure, and design elements for aging-in-place, although this is starting to change. Read More …
EDITOR: This byline article from Medical Alert Advice is republished with permission
because an enterprising young girl brought it to our attention (story at end).
As a senior citizen, you have a variety of housing options available to meet your needs. Active and independent older adults sometimes choose to live in adult retirement communities that provide recreational and social activities, while seniors who might need some extra help at home may benefit from assisted living facilities. As your needs change, living arrangements that provide more assistance, such as an adult family home, residential health care facility, or nursing home, may also be available.
However, more adults are choosing to remain in their own homes or apartments for as long as possible. Seniors are becoming more independent and are living on their own longer than ever before. While this is great news, it is also important that seniors and their families ensure that their homes are safe. By following some simple tips, you can ensure that your home is safe and enjoy your independence for as long as possible. Read More …
U.S. Unprepared to Meet the Housing Needs
of Its Aging Population
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies & AARP Foundation Release New Report
Washington, D.C. & Cambridge, MA (9/2/2014) – America’s older population is in the midst of unprecedented growth, but the country is not prepared to meet the housing needs of this aging group, concludes a new report released today by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation. According to Housing America’s Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population, the number of adults in the U.S. aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000 (see interactive map). But housing that is affordable, physically accessible, well-located, and coordinated with supports and services is in too short supply.
The Waiting Room is like a punch to the gut for people cast off and left out of our U.S. medical care system, what some call the best in the world. When Democrats and Republicans vie for your votes and debate healthcare reform, remember that these are not the people they are talking about. Most don’t even notice the plight of those at the bottom — this ugly underside. But our politicians, and the billionaires who set their agenda, should be made to watch this documentary, because these are the 47 percent they talk about — the people left out of the American Dream. They’re real people.
This character-driven documentary film uses unprecedented access to go behind the doors of Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a safety-net hospital fighting for survival while weathering the storm of a persistent economic downturn. Stretched to the breaking point, Highland is the primary care facility for 250,000 patients of nearly every nationality, race, and religion, with 250 patients – most of them uninsured – crowding its emergency room every day. Using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover, the film offers a raw, intimate, and often uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers cope with disease, bureaucracy, frustration, hope and hard choices during one typically hectic day.
The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and uninsured small business owners. Steel workers, cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. (movie trailer follows)
I’ve written many articles here about Universal Design principals in communities, homes and products, and now I’m thrilled to say that moviegoers who are deaf, hard of hearing, have low vision or are blind can now experience movies at neighborhood theaters. Regal Entertainment Group announced that 200 theaters nationwide will offer the Sony Entertainment Access System.
The system includes specially designed and lightweight eyewear for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing so they can privately view closed captioned text for both 2D and 3D movies. Patrons who have low vision or those who are blind can use this assistive technology with headphones or neck loops to hear descriptive audio tracks. Captions and descriptive audio can only be accessed by this equipment and is not visible or audible to other moviegoers.
The system is available at the Guest Services counter or from any theater manager. To select films offering this service, look for online showtimes noting: “Accessibility Devices Available.”