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Indeboom Consults With Families on Aging In Place Solutions and Universal Design

Watching members of our families struggle to function at home either because of illness or aging can cause stress and worry because, unfortunately, houses have been built with only healthy residents in mind. Today the concepts of Aging in Place and Universal Design are revolutionizing the way we build and adapt our houses adding features that are flexible with our changing needs.

Gerry Cherney

We never plan to encounter illness or to wonder how our parents can live safely in their home. Those challenges lead to questions like: How can a home be modified to ensure wheelchair clearance if someone we love is sick or frail? Can our home be adapted/modified to prolong independence if Parkinson’s, ALS, MSA or Multiple Sclerosis should strike? How can the house be made safer for a family member coping with dementia? What home modifications can be undone at a later date?  Families used to grapple with these questions alone. Today there is professional help.

Gerry Cherney, owner of Indeboom Occupational Therapy Consulting, supports homeowners, case managers, and architects with assessments and evaluations that guide renovations of older houses. He uses his skill to advise new housing design geared to accommodate potential functional limitations and needs at all the stages of our lives. He’s an Occupational Therapist practicing locally and skilled in a wide range of settings. Cherney holds several certifications including Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS).  If you or a family member are dealing with a sudden diagnosis or in need of home modifications consider seeking a  professional with CAPS certification. If you’re interested in proactive design that accommodates your family’s future and present a CAPS professionals can advise you on effective Universal/adaptive design features.  Cherney has a strong background in collaborating with builders on adaptive design and advising families by evaluating living accommodations when health/medical or cognitive decline occurs.

The Northwest Aging in Place industry, Cherney explains, “is still in its infancy having been strong for years in Southern California.” Yet design for Aging is Place continues to advance giving homeowners many more options as they contemplate home modification or new construction. Examples range from kitchens with low counters that aid access by wheelchair or help kids become more involved in cooking to Kohler’s “Comfort Height” toilets (2 inches taller than standard) that provide ease in transfer and take pressure off painful knees. In fact, adaptive design “is becoming so mainstream,” Cherney said, “we don’t think of it as disrupting the look of the house.” He cited door knobs and faucets in lever designs for ease of use when hands are arthritic or which work with just an elbow when hands are full.  “If home modifications are done correctly,” he added, “they can increase the home’s value or make the home more marketable for specific amenities such as a complete accessible shower/bath on the first floor of a two story home.”

Ponte Giulio USA creates stylish accessible bathroom designs

Ponte Giulio, a European manufacturer, features stylish adaptive solutions such as the bathroom pictured.  Increasingly, leading American companies, such as General Electric, offer practical Universal Design features.

Most families and couples still age “precariously” bringing in practical design modifications only in reaction to crisis writes Dr Patrick Roden blogging for Aging in Place. With all the useful Aging in Place and Universal Design products and features now available he urges home owners to look ahead and ask, “What 20% of home modifications will provide 80% of my aging-in-place goals of remaining home as I age? For example out of 10 potential modifications, which 2 are the vital few for my circumstances?” To review the many modifications architecture can offer check out this list and consider calling Gerry Cherney at Indeboom for a personal evaluation on practical modifications that better prepare your house to serve you and your family into the future. Aging in Place and Universal Design can make your life transitions easier.

Indeboom (425) 591-8037

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