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?