Including people with disabilities
From: BERWIN (BERWINdelphi.com)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 09:05:58 -0600
     I have never heard of the term adaptable housing, but have
been meaning to write about universal design. I think the ideas
behind the two of these go very well together and there's much
similarity.
     Universal design is about designing the products, hardware
and housing elements we use every day so that it's user friendly
to as many people as reasonably possible and making those designs
the norm.
    There are many standards in design that are perpetuated just
because that's the way it's always been.
    Take lamps. A lamp with universal design wouldn't have that
tiny little switch with which one has to have fine finger control
and strength to turn on.  Instead there would be some sort of
rolling switch  and one could use fingers flat out or the palm of
the hand, back of the hand. Universal design is about getting this
switch which so many more people can maneuver on all lamps and
lights. So that there is nothing special about it!
    Raising all toilets three inches is another issue. Not only
people in wheel chairs need this. I've an aunt who has had several
hip replacements and this change would allow her to go so many
more places, especially peoples homes.
    Raising outlets several inches, lowering thermostat a few
inches. My parents can barely reach their thermostat and this has
little to do with age.
    Other ideas have to do with choice in appliances. Ever wonder
who microwaves are so popular?  Not only do they cook fast of
course but they sit on the counter top. Counter top dishwashers
with doors with hinges on the side are needed. Dryers that can sit
on the countertop.
    Door and faucet knobs. Replace knobs which necessitate a grasp
and good hand control to levers that only need pressure. If you've
been to any retirement centers these levers are used on all doors,
front doors and regular doors. Universal design is about making
these knobs the norm, taking them out of the special category.
    As one who once was in a hotel room where I literally couldn't
open or close the bathroom door (a pocket door!) and didn't have
the strength to get the water on, I think universal design is a
wonderful idea for everyone.

    Apparently these words, universal design, are something to look
for on labels in the future. 
    I have notes with references. When I find them I'll post more! 
  
    
Leah
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