Designing and creating a “forever home” for successful Aging In Place is a business in need by many today desiring to hold onto their home and age comfortably. Homes are aesthetically pleasing (non-institutional) with increased accessibility and functionality for those with mobility issues. The specialist will provide:
- In-Home assessments to evaluate the client’s specific wants, needs, goals, and design solution ideas
- property evaluations and feasibility studies to potential home-buyers and land / building developers
- Design for new construction, remodeling, and additions to your home and property
A partial or complete redesign are available options. The following list of functions can give you a place to start assessing the home to determine a partial/full list of items you may require:
STAIRS and TRIP HAZARDS
- Are throw rugs being used? Are loved ones tripping?
- How are stairs being navigated the stairs? Are they using the handrail? Are they also holding onto the other wall for support? Are there other vertical transitions or thresholds between heights or materials that were an issue for them to navigate?
- Is their house light and bright, or dark and dim? Is there too much glare during certain times of day with the sun at certain angles in the sky / through the windows (late afternoon? early morning?) Are blinds, shades, or external overhangs needed to help with the glare coming into the rooms.
- Does it feel warm and inviting, or cold and dark?
- Does it feel “lived in”, or a bit too “empty”? Are visitors comfortable in your parents home?
- Do they have sufficient lighting (both ambient and task) at the places where they stop and do work such as a desk, cooking and prep areas, reading chairs, etc.?
- Is the light blocked by the occupant?
- Does their body cast a shadow on the work space they are trying to use?
- How are the use of faucets and sinks managed? Do they require you to grip and twist handles, or can you push a lever with your wrist for operation?
- How about door handles or door knobs? Are there doorknobs that are tough to turn and require a grip and twist?
- Are there doors that are “tight” or “tough” to open, that seem to require an extra thrust and then they “release” open all at once?
- How did they do holding onto a stack of dishes or a handful of silverware? How about their cooking utensils, did they seem to cause discomfort or require extra effort or focus to utilize?
PLUGS and SWITCHES
- Did you notice how Mom or Dad’s hands use a standard light switch? Do they flip it up and down with ease and without pain? Do they alter how they use their hand for this task?
- Do they have trouble reaching down to standard height outlets for cords and plugs?
CLEAR SPACE and MANEUVERABILITY
- How did they do moving down the hall, and through / around doors that needed to be opened or closed on the way through them?
- Are there door swings that are a hindrance to the open floor space in a room that make it tough to move about freely inside the room? Are there door swings that create tough to reach areas in a room when they are open?
ACCESSIBLITY to their THINGS
- How did they do getting dishes in and out of the sink, dishwasher, cabinetry? Could they safely and easily get items out of all upper and lower cabinetry in the kitchen, laundry room, garage, etc.?
- Do shelves come “up” and “down” to meet the user at a comfortable height, or is it an exercise in precarious reaching?
A “home designer” requires no licensing or exams process for residential design
A licensed Architect has typically completed on average 8 years of schooling and apprenticeship training under an architect, before attempting the NCARB’s A.R.E. licensing exams. A minimum of 9 exams totaling 36+ hours of testing related to all aspects of design and construction, life safety, health, and welfare of the public in the built environment is required to receive a license.
CAPS Certified Architects or home designers (Certified Aging In Place Specialists) is a designation sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. It requires only three days of instruction to qualify. It is a known and understood credentialing & designation in the industry for additional training specific to working with older clients.
Walking through the services section will give you the detailed assessment tool for determining specific needs you will want to ask for when seeking a consult with a home designer, or Architect. Take a notebook with your findings with room under each bullet point to write comments from the professional with which you are working.
- Will you manage the bidding of the design and permit drawings, as well as the interviewing and selection of a General Contractor for your remodel, addition, or new home?
- Define the types of licenses you hold; Architect, or home designer; CAPS Certified, or other-wise credentialed?
- Define complete fee structure.
- Hourly Rate(s), Percentage of Construction Cost, Flat Fee, NTE “Not To Exceed”
- What does their Fee include? Is that to the point of Permit submittal level drawings & documents? What’s included in “Full Service”? Can it be done more “A La Carte”?
- Are drawings submitted for permitting? Interview Contractors with you? Provide Construction Observation?
- Provide a few recent (last 2 years) project client references that can be contacted.