In today's 60-minute program, entitled "Design Strategies For Residential Aging-In-Place & Accessibility," the attendees included home builders, remodelers, architects, interior designers, and other housing and design professionals. I was the presenter.
Those who attended the live broadcast as well as those who will watch the recorded playback when it is released heard or will hear me discuss the important role design professionals have and are expected to play in creating effective aging-in-places solutions.
Consumers, and often other professionals, rely on the expertise that design professionals possess to create and deliver solutions to the marketplace that will help people stay in their homes in the near-term and help effectively renovated homes appeal to future homeowners. Builders present their ideas and concepts to architects who then translate those desires, price points, and intended market profiles into homes that can offer universal design concepts to reflect market desires and good design.
Consumers approach architects, builders, contractors, or designers to have them create solutions that will address specific accessibility or safety needs they have in their homes of to allow more maneuverability and grater freedom of movement within their homes. Sometimes these design professionals can create and deliver solutions themselves, and other times, they work collaboratively with other professionals as strategic partners to achieve the desired results.
Design professionals must accept the serious responsibility they have for interpreting what people are looking for in a layout and including features to help them remain safe in their homes as they age - regardless of their present age or physical condition. Access to those homes, safe movement within those homes (including fall prevention), convenient location of functional and operational controls and fixtures, and a comfortable living environment are keys to creating effective solutions.
Universal design remains a great baseline strategy for creating many of the design objectives for helping people to age well in place. From accessible entrances that help them enter their homes easily - as well as friends, relatives, and other guests and visitors (through a concept known as "visitability") - to flooring, lighting, appliances, controls, handles, and other features and fixtures in the home that are designed and created so they do not require any particular type of strength, physical size, or experience to use them effectively and can be used equally well whether someone is standing or seated (including wheelchair usage).
It was an honor and pleasure connecting with so many important design professionals who will, over time, positively affect and impact the lives of so many people relying on their services for home design and renovations.