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Peace, Purpose and a Pool Optimized-SW2792

Even Universal Design, with its emphasis on shaping spaces usable by people of all ages and abilities, is not the end-all when it comes to building homes for people with special needs. People living along the autism spectrum may be able to move about fine but may be extra sensitive to sensory stimuli. They also may have difficulty relating to other people and may not be able to live alone.

With the rising number of diagnoses of autism, it has become evident to parents and caregivers that they may not be around to care for their autistic children when they are adults, and they are exploring group homes and communities that can give their adult children a sense of independence while keeping them safe. Michael Tortorello profiles one such community, Sweetwater Spectrum in Sonoma, Calif., in the Oct. 10, 2013, issue of The New York Times.


Crossing the Threshold: Problems and Prospects for Accessible Housing Design Optimized-IMG_1219

Will American's disdain for accessible building practices send older Americans into institutional living? In this Aug. 28, 2013, article from "Housing Perspectives: Research, trends, and perspective from The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies," Meyer Fellow Wanda Katja Liebermann spells out the problems facing planners, designers and consumers and suggests that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. (Integrated access in Swarthmore, PA., pictured above, vs. unintegrated thinking about access.)

The discussion of how, and where, we will live begins here.


Are we back to building in barriers? Opt Sunken LR

Oh, brother, we hope not but Mitchell Parker of the Houzz Editorial Staff thinks "the popularity of the throwback design is a response to the mainstream popularity of the open floor plans".  A sunken living space, he continues, helps designers solve the transition from one floor material to another. We say, come on, designers! There must be a better way!





Sustainable, Visitable, and Universal by Design

What is Universal Design? Visitability? Why do these ideas matter? And what do they have to do with climate change? Kathy Sykes, senior advisor for Aging and Sustainability at the Environmental Protection Agency, explains the simple principles of designing homes and communities to be usable by people of all ages and abilities in this American Architectural Foundation article. If you're a Baby Boomer, or know someone who is, you will be interested to learn what communities such as Charlotte, NC, and San Mateo, CA, are doing to make life easier for all of us.


Do-It Yourself Designs for Daily Living Optimized drawer hack better

The elderly HACKER. Not a description particularly pegged on the senior demographic yet they are constantly using creative solutions to make existing products more usable and relevant to them.  Case in point, the hack saw blade attached just above flush to this drawer (right) is a great hack for someone with limited dexterity or use of only one hand.



The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities DPBookBedroomUp jpg

All homes should be accessible, but many Americans conjure images of institutions and hospitals when we hear the words Universal Design. In her new book, "The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities," architect Deborah Pierce dispells the notion that "user-friendly" and "beautiful" are mutually exclusive, with stunning examples of homes like Brian McMillan's, shown here. Read full review.

The Longevity Project b2fd2855672ebd7bdb85ef122d1a7f69

An interesting look at the findings of data collected on more than 1,500 people over the course of 80 years.  Comparing the lives, habits and personality traits of the longest living helped researchers unlock what they believe were the keys to longevity in those living longest.  Most chapters end with a section titled "What it Means for You: Guideposts to Health and Long Life".  Find out if this book is right for you.



The Roadmap to 100 48697bab4eae333076ce31fa9f218804

Dr. Walter Bortz pens a how-to for those striving to hit the triple digits. Get moving is the short of it, but Bortz backs up this advice with the science behind it.  Find out why this is a great read for those who want to explore health, aging and longevity beyond the gene lottery.