Posts Tagged ‘universal design’

Need to Redo your Loo?

Revitalizing Your Home

Available in bookstores and at

Before remodeling, check out AARP’s free webinar, “Transform Your Bathroom Through Good Design and Innovative Products,” and their paperback book, “Guide to Revitalizing Your Home: Beautiful Living for the Second Half of Life.”

The webinar featured dozens of photos showing innovative ideas, many using universal design concepts. I selected a 21 sample photos to include in this article but encourage you to watch the webinar to see them all and hear the commentary.

Remodeling for accessibility can be quite attractive and increase a home’s value. Click on each image below to see the high-res version, and notice the design features, such as wheelchair accessible showers, folding shower seats and handheld shower heads, designer grab bars and mirrors, cabinets with knee space and storage, and smart toilets.

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Mini Eco-i-Lite: When a Great Product Review Turns Bad

Mini Eco-i-Lite, available at retailers like, Container Store and OfficeDepotBeing a digital home consultant and an advocate for universal design and simplicity, one of my favorite home automation gadgets is the nightlight with photocell. It improves the safety of moving about in a dark room, because it turns on when it’s dark and off when it’s light. Like magic, when you turn on the room’s light(s), the little nightlight turns off; and when you turn off the lights, the nightlight turns on again. That’s why I was happy to find a new version and wanted to write about it.

While visiting OfficeDepot in Houston, I discovered the Mini Eco-i-Lite. It only costs about $10 and combines the functions of a nightlight, power failure light, and flashlight. How cool is that? By addressing the combined benefits of safety, ease of use, and sustainability, it seems ideal for the elderly, so I bought one and planned to write a glowing review about it here. But all is not what it seems.

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Seniors Learn to Use & Appreciate iPad

The iPad may be the Ultimate in universal design. If cats can play games especially designed for them, and infants use iPads for play and as a learning tools, then surely seniors at any age can use this cool device for everything from emailing their children and grandchildren, downloading books and music and recipes, researching old haunts and finding out what they look like today, playing games, and even playing piano music on the touch screen. This article includes three embedded videos (below). One is about cats (it got 2,500 hits on YouTube), one about infants (from my local TV station), and one about seniors (from Colorado 9 News).

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Next Phase of Homecare Growth: Age in Place Technologies

By Nina Dunn, Spector & Associates, 5/12/2011

In the coming years, Americans will face demographic changes that will fundamentally shift our healthcare system and the way we age. The sheer number of baby boomers approaching retirement age, their affluence and their more progressive view of technology all influence the development of scientific innovations that will enhance the quality of life for those who wish to age in place.

Today, family caregivers and even seniors themselves are searching for a complete elder care solution, and Ambient Assisted Living might be exactly what they are looking for. Already popular in Europe, this concept can help our seniors remain socially active and stay connected and independent for a longer time.

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Health Care Crisis: Home Treatment Needs Makeover

Here are some highlights from this interesting article by David Cronin of Smart Design. The article gives examples of some well designed products but is critical of most home healthcare product designs.

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MEDCottage: a place for mom


MEDCottage introduces new way to care for loved ones

Home health care can avoid higher costs of institutional care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, but making space may be an issue. Fortunately, there are many options. You can give grandma the spare bedroom, convert a garage into living space, remodel the home, or add a small cottage on your property.

That last option is the idea behind MEDCottage, a charming modular home that serves as a “mini-medical facility.” It’s designed like a deluxe trailer for the elderly, but it doesn’t look like a trailer. I like the idea of relying on experts to integrate various systems, where the combined value is greater than the sum benefits of each part.

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Tablets Open the Digital World to Older Adults

by Angel Carl, Right at Home, May 17, 2011

With more than 75 computer tablets showcased at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, one industry analyst has christened 2011 as the “Year of the Tablet.” Accompanying all the buzz over this new technology is the promise it holds for connecting the disconnected, including older adults who have struggled with setting up a personal computer, installing software and dealing with annoying error notifications.

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A vision of cloud based accessibility

by Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk

About the submission

Lifted by the Cloud is a 7min vision video of cloud-based accessibility submitted by Modern Health Talk founder Wayne Caswell  as part of a contest sponsored by the FCC, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, and Raising the Floor. It’s based on the author’s 2006 presentation on BIG Broadband and Gigabit-to-the-Home. The source PowerPoint slides and a script with additional information are available online. Read the rest of this entry »

Ageless Design

Manufacturers finally create stylish products for baby boomers to age gracefully at home

Here’s a checklist from a book on Residential Design for Aging in Place, some links for additional information, and some photo examples.

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Smart Toilets, a royal flush for Home Healthcare?

Passive devices like wireless motion sensors and Nike+ sensors in running shoes are great ways to monitor activity and progress, but what about your chemical makeup? Toilets, it seems, are ideal places to check bodily fluids automatically and on a regular basis. A Huffington Post article about Kohler’s smart toilet caused me to write this with my own twist and with more focus on home healthcare.

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