Enabling Environment Checklist

Q: Is it the person who is disabled or the environment that is disabling?

I was fortunate to be part of a webinar that Esther Greenhouse gave on aging in place and creating enabling environments. This was one of her big questions.

I write about enabling environments in Aging Our Way, in the chapter on (Re) Design Your Living Space. I focus on how elders arrange their spaces to enable comfort, convenience, and accessibility on a daily basis. Esther Greenhouse takes this one step further, as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and environmental genontologist.

Esther is big on design that works for you, your family, and your friends. In other words, your home should be accessible for you and your family and “visitable” for others.

Think about your home – does it have everything on this checklist to make it enabling to people across the spectrum of ability?

  • Full height mirror
  • Grab bars in the bathroom
  • Removable shower head
  • Lever door openers
  • Adequate lighting, including floor lighting for nighttime
  • Shower seat or bench
  • At least one zero-step entry
  • Wide doorways
  • 1st floor half-bath

Other fun additions include OXO Good Grips products and shampoo/conditioner bottles that look different.

 A: When I’m bringing in groceries, or carrying my child, I don’t want steps or rugs I can trip on, doors I have to grip to open, nor do I want to travel through excessively narrow passages. So this really is design for all, isn’t it?

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1 Response to “Enabling Environment Checklist”


  1. 1 Steve Chagnon March 13, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Ester Greenhouse made a great presentation in that webinar, and your blog is a great general starter as well. A few things I didn’t get were heights of seats, beds and toilet seats. Elders get stiffer and the ability to get up and down for seating and in bed is as critical for many as any of the mentioned items. Outlet and wall switch heights, bannister and hand rail heights, sizes and clearance spaces are other concerns not to be forgotten. Also including challenged models in the illustrative photos help the target group to identify with the materials being presented.


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Meika Loe

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