All about how you can age comfortably and safely in your own home.
ACHIEVING ACCESSIBILITY FOR HEARING AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED
I met with a potential client in their home in Hollywood Hills, an area still considered Los Angeles in Southern California. The main reason their family chose us was that we were specifically licensed and certified in Elderly and ADA (American Disabilities Act) home upgrades and remodeling. I shared with them my experiences with my other clients who had recently had to rearrange their home because of a new disability and what they did to make their lives easier.
It is often possible to adapt or modify current and existing housing using various home modification techniques and technologies. With the main goals being, to keep a safe environment and promote independence and self care.
Continue reading below for accessibility solutions for people with visual or hearing disabilities.
Smoke alarms, security system alarms, telephone ringers, and door bells even should all be converted with prominent visual signals, lights or signs in order for people with hearing disabilities to be more safe and to help them enjoy their homes. Placement of different colored lights symbolizing a specific event in prominent and common areas around the house helps keep everyone safe and decreases response time. A visual telephone ringer has a light that flashes with incoming calls and a text to telephone typewriter (TTY) helps convert voice to text messages for the disabled individual. But all this new technology, how has it helped people with hearing disabilities? I recently bumped into several companies that make life easier: Sorenson, The Z and Purple all have video web calling services in which interpreters are connected to translate to hearing people on the other line.
Furniture placement is the simplest way to avoid accidents. Establishing a clear route of travel from one room to another is very important for people with a visual disability. Tactile warning strips may be used to mark abrupt changes in floor level, edges of steps, and the transition from one area to another. This is extremely important when there are steps or stairs present and there needs to be a warning before the steps to prevent falls.For those with low vision, using contrasting surface colors can indicate area or surface changes. In addition, door thresholds should be flush with to the floor eliminate tripping hazards. Lighting should be bright and at consistent levels throughout the home, but care should be taken to eliminate as much glare and reflection as possible. Motion sensors connected to an bell or other audio device can also help signal when visitors enter the property perimeter.
Hopefully some of this information and experience has helped any of you. Please comment below and share your experiences too. I would love to hear from all of you and what you do to make life easier in dealing with visual and hearing disabilities of your own or a loved one.