Category Archives: Housing

Designing for Acoustics, Hearing and Aging

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The American Society of Interior Designers has some information about designing for people with hearing loss on their website. An article written by Samantha McAskill, ASID, lists various tips for interior designers like, using sound absorbing fabics, avoiding high ceilings, planning for quiet rooms / areas in the home, selecting quiet appliances, and using visual alerts for telephones and doorbells.

NAHB Remodelers Bestows 2013 Homes for Life Awards

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The National Association of Home Builders Remodelers group recently announced 2 winners of its annual Homes for Life awards, which recognize great design for aging in place and Universal Design. The awards were presented on Oct. 17 at the NAHB Remodelers’ annual gala during the 2013 Remodeling Show in Chicago.

Life and Death in Assisted Living

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More and more elderly Americans are choosing to spend their later years in assisted living facilities, which have sprung up as an alternative to nursing homes. But is this loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar industry putting seniors at risk? In a major investigation with ProPublica, FRONTLINE examines the operations of the nation’s largest assisted living company, raising questions about the drive for profits and fatal lapses in care.

CAPABLE Study to Research Benefits of Aging in Place

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Johns Hopkin’s CAPABLE study is reaching out to 800 low-income residents of Baltimore to gather data on whether simple interventions can allow people to remain in their homes longer. The CAPABLE project – which stands for Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders – was created by Sarah Szanton, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and focuses on simple home modifications and strategies for completing activities of daily living.

The research project will bring handymen, occupational therapists and nurses to residents’ homes in order to investigate their needs and create custom interventions. The cost is about $4,000 per participant, while the average cost for nursing home care in the U.S. is $6,700 a month. Keeping people in their homes longer can have huge economic benefit and healthcare benefits, which is why the study is being funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services along with the National Institutes of Health.

Aging in Place Checklist

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Remodeling Magazine ran a short article about Dan Bawden of Legal Eagle Contracting, and how he approaches working with clients wishing to age-in-place. Bawden helped write the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) course description 10 years ago for the National Association of Home Builders. Now, about 75% of his firm’s work involves some aspect of aging-in-place. Bawden’s firm uses a checklist to conduct home audits for new clients to identify the areas of their home that aren’t working for them.

Future Communities Must be Sustainable and UD

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We came across a great post on the American Architectual Foundation‘s website that not only outlines the importance of Universal Design and visitability, but also explores their relationship to sustainable design. Written by Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor for Aging and Sustainability at U.S. EPA, the article looks at the principles of Universal Design, explains how Universal Design can help us prepare for both demographic and environmental challenges, and provides examples of communities that have met these challenges head-on. The full article is definitely worth a read.

Read the article “Sutainable, Visitable, and Universal by Design”

City Hall to Help with Aging In Place

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In Virginia, the City of Alexandria is offering home improvement programs to help residents enhance the safety and comfort of their homes. The Home Rehabilitation loan program is administered through the city’s housing office, and is the largest program offered. It is funded by the Federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs, and designed to help low income Alexandria families complete costly home repairs.

Another program offered is the Rental Accessibility Modification program. This program is also administered by the housing office and allows low income families in rental units to take advantage of home improvement grants of up to $50,000.

NORCs – A New Aging In Place Solution

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A new alternative to current senior living has emerged in cities across the United States, including the major metropolitain area New York City. Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, or “NORCs,” is a concept that fosters aging in place for older populations. Some 22% of those living in the Upper West Side – folks who settled into condos or rent controlled apartments in the 70’s – have now transitioned into their golden years. This is higher than the citywide average of 17%. The communities exist on their own, however, there is an opportunity and a need for independent amenities to aid its residents.

No Place Like Home

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The October issue of PN Magazine contains a great article that explores the economic benefits that we as a society could gain by investing in Aging in Place. Written by Charles Schwab, AIA, CAPS, GCP, the article argues that creating tax incentives for Universal Design remodeling and new construction products will encourage more people to adapt these features in their homes.