As baby-boomers continue to age, the need for accessible housing for themselves or a family member is becoming more evident. The importance of accessibility is especially important since it is not a problem just for seniors or those in wheelchairs. According to Susan Mack, president of California-based Homes for Easy Living, accessible homes can also be categorized as ergonomic homes, because they fit better and continue to fit over time. Mack has designed accessible homes, also known as universal-design homes for local developers, as well as won an award from the National Association of Home Builders in 2001 for senior housing.
First-hand experience has led California resident Susan Dye to understand the importance of accessibility. After an accident left her a wheelchair user, Dye needed an accessible home that could accommodate her needs. Accessible homes have at least one bedroom and a full bathroom on the first floor, no steps at entryways, wider doorways, more space in bathrooms and more room between kitchen counters and islands. Other features include level driveways that make it easier for people using a wheelchair or walker, lower kitchen and bathroom counters, grab bars next to the toilet and bath, floors without wall-to-wall carpeting, lever door handles and rocker light switches.
According to Steve Johnson, director of Riverside-based Metro Study, a real-estate consulting company, accessible home designs started about 20 years ago. Since, builders and architects have considered the idea of accessible housing and have begun to make changes that cater to larger segments of the population, understanding that accessibility is not a problem that only affects seniors or those in wheelchairs.
ActiveForever carries a wide selection of products ideal for retrofitting or designing new homes for accessibility. Several of our products are great for fall prevention, mobility issues and limited dexterity. Our Safety Walk-In Bathtub enables persons with mobility issues to walk into the bathtub rather than climb over; thus avoiding potential falls. The Acorn Stairliftprovides a safe, reliable and easy way to get up and down stairs. Our Pedal Works Touchless Faucetenables those with limited dexterity to have full control of the faucet and easily install under the sink.
Source: North County Times, "Houses built for wheelchair accessibility a growing trend."; Mitchell, L., (3/18/04).