ADA Compliant

  • Senior Living Community Design Improves Quality of Life

    Residents of Senior Living Community Enjoying Game

    First off, if you are an architect and part or all of your focus is senior living community design we would like to thank you for helping this valuable part of the population. This compliment may sound cheesy (and tie in extremely well with our topic), but it’s genuine. Thank you.

    With each and every new build or remodel, you make these buildings even more capable of taking care of the loved ones of countless families. That’s no small feat. Although, we probably wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say that you don’t often think of it that way.

    Well you should.

    Here are a few ways you are extending and improving the lives of others with your designs.

    Increased Happiness

    There are so many things that have come into play over the last decade when designing these spaces. Before a nursing home or retirement community wasn't always the most pleasant or welcoming place to spend time. Now, they are more like fine hotels or upscale communities on golf courses or with other nice amenitities.

    Things like pet-friendly design, upscale eateries, shopping nearby, activities such as golf, nature walks, swimming and other great activities and spacious accommodations are helping residents make the most of what is often times situations that can be hard on both the senior and their families.

    Increased Independence

    No one wants to feel like a burden, and whether you know it or not, that thought goes through every resident’s head when they are looking for a community to call home. Taking accessibility to the next level has allowed so many more people the chance to live a relatively independent life with minimal assistance.

    This cause is one we take seriously as well, and it’s why we designed the Ultralatch. It’s the best door entry latch on the market for the disabled. Here a list of online retailers and distributors.

    Increased Longevity

    The design elements of elderly community have never been better. State of the art nursing facilities are able to perform more procedures and keep people on property instead of costly doctor’s visits. In room accessibility for staff has never been better to give the care and attention needed at a moment’s notice. All of these improvements helps to boost quality of life and longevity for residents.

    There really are so many benefits for residents from today’s designs and it is truly exciting to think about what the future holds for the industry. If you would like to learn about other improvements and trends in senior living please take a moment to download our special report by clicking below.

  • Designing with Conscience: How Compassion Builds the Best Structures

    senior woman with her caregiver at homeArchitects, builders, and designers make a difference with every structure they draw and build. A tremendous amount of thought must go into every square inch to ensure, not only the appeal of new buildings, but their overall function.

    There are other sectors of the American (and international) public that requires even more thought to be given to any design. Creating a friendly design for the disabled can be some of the most rewarding and challenging in the field of architecture.

    Nursing homes, senior living communities, and rehab centers are among the many spaces that need to cater to individuals with physical disabilities. While it isn’t without frustration, making something that will increase the quality of life for someone is noble and worthwhile goal.

    The Problem Is Clear

    Key Stats:

    • 15.1% of adults in the U.S. have a physical functioning difficulty (over 36 million people).
    • 75.4 million Americans had difficulty in at least one basic function in 2013 (a third of which are 65+).
    • 7.1% of adults are unable (are find it very difficult) to walk a quarter mile.

    While the numbers seem staggering, that should only prove the need for professionals to design from both their skill and conscience. All too often, buildings are crafted to meet the specific standards of regulation stemming from the ADA.

    Many of these requirements are very helpful, but certain nuances and better solutions can be overlooked when being guided strictly by a “regulation” mindset. A little bit of thought from a well-versed architect will go a long way toward making the day in and day out routines of people with physical disabilities more enjoyable and independent.

    A Couple of Ways to Help

    The next time you’re looking at the regulations, go a step further and analyze two key factors:

    The Mind of the Inhabitants: People don’t want to be labeled as disabled (even if they technically are), and they want to live as normal of a life as possible. Your designed spaces can change drastically to accommodate independence while still falling within local and federal guidelines.

    The Needs of the Inhabitants: Thinking about the physical actions of a resident or patient with physical disabilities can open your eyes to the needs that wouldn’t normally be met. Things like hardware and functionality can be slightly altered for a major effect.

    SOSS believes in designing with a conscience. We’ve helped supply the best quality door hardware on the market to many places that assist the community of individuals with physical disabilities. If your build is intended for those individuals, we encourage you to consider the SOSS UltraLatch. Our revolutionary door latch will help most with limited mobility open doors without assistance. For more information, be sure to look at our UltraLatch page.

  • Summer's Here! Senior Living Design for All Seasons

    senior couple enjoying a day at the lake

    There are so many nuances to designing a senior living residence, complex or nursing home for a senior living community. The care residents will need as they age, their interests, desires, the list of variables goes on and on.

    There is one element of your design that may go unnoticed in a sense. Obviously, by the title we are talking about the natural elements. Putting together a place that the community can enjoy all year round will draw attention to your design as well as keep this very special part of society happy in their golden years.

    Here are a few tips to designing for seniors in all four seasons of the year.

    Capitalize On Fall

    The fall (in most areas of the U.S.) is full of brisk, yet enjoyable days of the year. Leaves are turning and, for many, it’s a happy time before deepest darkest winter rolls in to town. Depending on where you are there are a few ways to design for this time of year. Here’s one to get you thinking.

    Tip: Outdoor fun with games. Design the area with natural wind barriers so it doesn’t get too chilly and it will be used more than in the summer.

    Bundle Up During Winter

    Winter is the no-go zone for the elderly. It’s too cold and too dangerous to get out in harsh conditions. These setbacks obviously mean the use of different design elements, but there is one you may not have thought about.

    Tip: Winter time usually causes more complaints about minor aches and pains. Blame on inactivity or the cold weather, but arthritis and other problems tend to flare up. Using fixtures that make it easier to get around (kind of like our Ultralatch) will help residents feel more independent.

    (If you’re interested in the UltraLatch, you can find a list of dealers here.)

    Be Considerate During Spring

    Spring is rainy, but beautiful. Members of the community will want to enjoy it, but medical conditions and other restraints may make the wetness an issue. Building large sitting areas with big windows will help, but you could go a step above.

    Tip: Design covered walkways and breezeways to give people either the ability or (at least) the illusion of being outside to enjoy the spring.

    Go All Out in the Summer

    The elderly tend to skew naturally colder than most able-bodied adults. There are several medical reasons for this, but we’re no doctors. What we can tell you is to make sure your ready for an outdoor party for most of the summer.

    Tip: There are obvious places where the summer is extremely hot and humid. This could be a cue for you to take the party indoors, or design shady areas to curb the heat.

  • Senior Living Design for the Needs of Residents and Families

    It’s important that design be done with both elderly residents and their families in mind. One of the worst mistakes a designer can make is to design a room that’s not functional. It’s important to realize that one of the most important features in senior living, retirement, and nursing homes are door handles. An easy to open, properly functioning door is something that should be incorporated into the design of all rooms and homes for the elderly and disabled.

    Door Handles for Residents

    Door handles should be chosen and incorporated into design with easy access being at the front of your mind. Elderly residents often times have disabilities that prevent the necessary movements required to turn a doorknob. Design should take this into consideration. One of the things that’s recommended is to get the opinion of the elderly home facility. What kinds of problems are their residents having when opening doors? What design features seem to work best? What makes things easier for residents? The answers to these questions can be invaluable information that will help you come up with the perfect design. Many residents find a door latch that uses a push/pull activation system instead of a twisting motion works better. The UltraLatch uses a push/pull activation system.

    Door Handles for Families

    It’s often forgotten, but the resident’s family will have to access the room as often as the resident. It’s important that design be done with this in mind. Door handles (like our UltraLatch) should be easy enough to operate that family members can simply open the door and walk in the room. No hidden locks, tricks, or gimmicks. It should be easy. The worst thing that can happen is blocked access due to a complicated, confusing door handle. This can be annoying and even dangerous.

    Special Door Hardware

    Special door hardware is now more readily available than ever. There are numerous options available to designers. Keep in mind that you’re designing for both the resident and their family and you’ll be able to make a good decision when choosing the best type of special door hardware. Always remember: the goal is easy access.

    The job of designing for the elderly and disabled is a tricky one. When you keep the goal of safe and easy access in mind, it becomes much easier. Use some of the ideas presented in this article to help you. Residents and their families will thank you.

  • 4 Trends and Predictions About the Future of Senior Living

    21144462_sAging seniors are an incredibly large segment of the population. Their needs are difficult to design for without proper research and keeping up with the industry. Staying up to date is important as more information and study comes available and gives insight into the future of this aging community.

    There are so many factors to consider, we thought it best to create an “update” on what many experts feel are happening now and will continue to occur in the future.

    1. Healthcare Integration

    As long as 10,000 people keep retiring everyday (supposed to happen for another 10 years or so), there will also be an increasing need for healthcare. With changes to the healthcare industry, more and more medical treatments are likely to happen in retirement communities, senior living apartment complexes, and nursing homes.

    Medical facilities on the property of many elderly communities will have to expand or be added to in order to handle the needs of a growing number of aging residents.

    1. Economical and Environmental

    With so many retiring with little or no savings, the need for lower cost/lower expense living will be crucial to handle to needs of our society. Not only that, many lawmakers are considering the environmental impact of so many communities that cater to older individuals.

    Most likely, this focus will result in the need for higher efficiency designs and a smaller carbon footprint. While many Baby Boomers don’t heavily consider the environment as much as others, they will enjoy the benefits of an Eco-friendly facility.

    1. Group Living

    Independence is an important part to many who are older. However, that doesn’t mean they want to be left alone. A growing number of seniors are opting to share living arrangements with others of a similar age, or even with family members.

    The trend seems to be going backwards to a time where larger families lived together to offset costs and take care of the aging family members. Due to financial hardships and a lack of quality communities, this option is growing at a rapid rate.

    1. Better Technology

    Technology seems to be hitting a fever pitch. It’s no different in the realm of the elderly and disabled. There have been some incredible advancements that are truly making it easier for the elderly to live longer and more comfortable lives. As long as the industry stays “booming”, there will be no shortage of new gadgets and hardware that will revolutionize the problems of growing old.

    SOSS has worked hard to develop one of these pieces of technology. It’s called the UltraLatch and can help many with disabilities open and close doors without twisting or even using their wrists. Here’s a great place to find out more about it.

    If you would like to learn more about senior living design trends be sure to download our special report on senior living trends. It is free. Simply click the icon below to download.

  • What Seniors Look for When Touring Retirement Communities

    12019402_sRetirement is still a fairly young practice in the grand scheme of history. With so many leaving the workforce, choosing a place to spend the latter years is becoming more and more grueling. Elderly individuals with options are finding sub par living arrangements and a genuine lack of amenities.

    Largely due to the low supply and high demand of communities, designers are now considering the desires the vast amounts of baby-boomers who are ready to enjoy the golden years. Their requests are unique to any other group, due to a mix of aging concerns along with a yearning for resort style living.

    But what are the most important things retirees are looking for? Let’s take a look.

    Friends (Active Community)

    There is such a stigma on retirement communities as being full of crotchety old people who stay in their homes or rooms complaining about the weather. The sad part is that those retiring are afraid that the rumors are true (and sometimes can be).

    Not because there aren’t people who want to connect, but the space isn’t set up for elderly interaction.

    To give potential residents what they want, provide large (indoor and outdoor) multipurpose spaces with plenty of “coffee table” style seating to promote conversation.

    Luxury

    While there are high end retirement communities available for the affluent, you’ll be hard pressed to find the average post work individual who wants to live in a community without a few bells and whistles.

    Nice furniture, quality seating, and ornate trim are a good start. Activities will also be included in their scrutiny. Ensuring designated and high quality areas for eating, socializing and gaming will be looked over in detail.

    Practical Medical Options

    While their fun may just be getting started, you’ll find this aging community very self aware in terms of potential needs down the road. A great medical facility will go a long way in convincing them to join you, but other design features will seal the deal.

    Accessibility problems plague the majority of the elderly population. Making the entire facility accessible without losing style is a challenge, but one that will increase the number of residents at a premium rate.

    Think of things like wheelchair ramps, stair lifts, large elevators, and other choices that will make aging easier for all community members. Another large concern is a person’s ability to live unassisted for as long as possible. To help with this, use specialty hardware and appliances that are less cumbersome for anyone without full use of their body.

    SOSS Door Hardware has invented an ADA compliant entry system that can be opened by almost all disabled or low mobility individuals. It’s called the UltraLatch and requires no wrist rotation in order to access a secured door. Click here to find a dealer near you.

  • 7 New Products That Are Helping Seniors

    17699363_sThere are many kinds of disabilities, so there are many different kinds of assistance technology that has been created by companies. A number of these companies focus on how they can add value, creating adaptive devices to help improve the lives of their customers.

    We’ve rounded up 7 new products that are truly helping the disabled, from audio books to doorknobs that have no knobs, so let’s take a look at how they can transform your life.

    Audiobooks

    Audio books may not have been created especially for people with disabilities, but their contribution here is huge! If you think about the difference between listening to Audio books and Braille reading tools, you can easily understand why we have to put them on this list.

    Many elderly and visually impaired people have lost the joy that once came with reading books and other materials. Audio books let you experience the stories and information you’ve been missing and that you may not be able to get otherwise.

    Lightweight Transfer Board

    Transfer boards provide a smooth and stable flat surface between level areas. They are very light and small, and can be used by someone who is able to position the board and slide over or can be used by a caregiver to avoid lifting the user.

    Being able to move where we want is something most of us take for granted. That is why this product is invaluable to the individuals that need it.

    Type Aids

    This product enters our list because of the possibilities it gives for people with limited hand skills. From working to using social media, we all know how typing is part of most people’s day-to-day lives, therefore type aids are the perfect tools for helping to accurately press keys and facilitate the user’s job.

    Cane Holder for Walkers/ Wheelchairs

    This is a simple double-clip cane holder. However, do not underestimate its help! It can keep the user’s cane handy whenever they may need it, and they can snap onto the user’s walker or wheelchair.

    Tub Grab Bars

    I know this might not sound like a new product and it isn't. But as technology evolves, you can find different types of grab bars with different attributes, allowing people with disabilities to enjoy daily life without additional assistance.

    Today it is possible to find multi-handle tub bars with compact design, ideal for use at home or while traveling. This aspect is essential because it improves the user’s independence of the caregiver.

    Reaching Aids

    Reaching Aids are just simple tools that help individuals grab things difficult to reach. You can find several models online or in medical supply stores such as reaching aids that hold shavers, razors, sponges, and even help apply ointment to the user’s body.

    UltraLatch Doorknobs

    A doorknob that has no knobs! A perfect way for opening doors without using your hands, twisting your wrist or bending; benefiting anyone with limited hand skills or special needs. The SOSS UltraLatch is an example of a simple but powerful solution, not only in ease of use, but also to help avoid possible accidents.

    To get more great ideas about senior living please download our free senior living design guide.

  • 4 Ways To Help Family Members Delay Assisted Living

    3476019_s
    One of the hardest decisions we may face during our lifetime is whether to help our family members remain in their home or to consider the move into an assisted living home. In some cases assisted living may be necessary and unavoidable.

    However, there are a few options that may help delay the move to assisted living and should not be overlooked. Here are 4 simple changes that you can make that may make it possible for someone to stay in their home independently.

    Exercise

    A necessary condition for delaying assisted living is to be healthy. Of course, elderly people need to be aware of their changing limits, but appropriate exercise can be a major factor in keeping them happy and living healthy in their home. Gentle walks might be the most common recommendation here, and it's the perfect activity to enjoy with your family.

    Remove Clutter

    Having fewer things around the house will mean less dust, less cleaning, more space, and a big decrease in the probability of accidents. The key thing to achieve this is to simplify, and removing clutter will help a lot.

    How can you help here?

    Make sure all walk ways are clear and there are no unnecessary items on the floor. Clear off counters to lessen the likelihood of something being knocked off. After this, sort through anything that needs to thrown away or sold. Selling or donating any extra furniture or items can be both a fun and productive way of reducing clutter.

    Adapting Your Home

    Together with removing clutter, changing a few key features in your home can reduce risks and increase confidence in the elderly. Here is a short list of things you might want to consider when retrofitting your home.

    Providing Or Improving Access To Rooms
    By installing a stair lift, widening doorways and installing ramps to avoid using steps you can help your loved one gain access to areas of their own home that may not have been possible before.

    Changing Door Knobs
    The UltraLatch door knob made by SOSS is a very comfortable fully ADA compliant and easy to use door handle. In fact, the UltraLatch allows its user to open doors with only half an inch of movement, benefiting anyone with limited hand movement or special needs.

    Changing Things To Proper Heights
    We all know using adjustable beds or chairs are of great benefit. However you can also adjust the heights of light switches, door handles, and electrical outlets making them more accessible.

    Learning a New Skill

    Studies show that we need to use our brain, to delay losing some of our mental capabilities. There is a wide range of skills that you can learn, from learning a new language to how to use a smartphone.

    Ideally, it should involve some physical movement or change in environment. This can simply be trying a different walking path at new park. Whatever changes you can help your loved one make will help delay assisted living and increase their quality of life.

  • Inviting Confidence Into Your Room Design

    10218140_sWhen choosing your living room furniture design, you will come across a mind-boggling number of options, but unfortunately not all of them can be accessible for physically challenged individuals.

    As members of the family go through aging, infirmity or have specific needs, you might consider some small changes that can bring more confidence to them, or even delay assisted living.

    Mobility problems can cause known issues like injuries, but you also want more than to just to prevent accidents, you want your family and guests to feel safe and eliminate any possible fear of falling.

    Accessibility

    First you have to consider how people will get in and out of the room. A person who is using a wheelchair or is dependent on a cane or a walker will not be able to gain access to the room without a ramp. Whether or not they are in a wheelchair, make sure they can get from one floor of the house to another. You can make this easier with the insertion of handrails as well.

    Furniture

    When looking for furniture, try finding chairs and sofas that are adjustable. Recliners are simple to use and enable disabled people or the elderly to relax in the most comfortable position for their condition. They also come in many designs and can meet the decorative elements of the rest of your home. Many people think that their home decor might be compromised when they purchase this type of furniture. That is not true because most good manufacturers offer them without sacrificing style.

    Design

    A good example of how you can have the best of both worlds is using door knobs like the SOSS UltraLatch. These doorknobs actually have no knobs, allowing you to open doors with only one touch; benefiting anyone with limited hand motion or arthritis. They also are available in many finishes, meeting the style of your door and your room.

    In the end, it all comes down to considering how you can make your room more accessible. You can widen doors for wheelchair access and install things like light switches, door handles, door bells and electric sockets at waist height. These are good examples of small improvements you can make, without giving up design.

    If you are interested in making bigger improvements, you may also consider consulting an occupational therapist. They will assess the patient’s daily living needs and help them achieve the maximum degree of independence by advising on adaptations to your home.

    Download our Senior Living Guide for additional tips, resources and ideas

  • Designing a Rehab Center That Builds Patient Confidence

    8414180_sRehab centers can be the core contributor to recovery for many people facing life’s challenges. After entering the doors of a rehab center, patients know that pain and struggle may lie ahead on their path to wellness. Consequently, any features that can enhance and improve the life of the patients can go a long way to improving their rehab experience.

    Safe Surfaces

    Being able to navigate within the rehab center is a prime consideration. Because many rehab patients are using mobility aids, walkways and other surfaces, need to be adapted to their use. Textured or rubber-covered surfaces can provide more traction for wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.

    The slant of the walkways should also be considered. A low degree of slant is preferred so wheelchair and walker users can easily negotiate the uphill grade of ramps and sidewalks.

    Outdoor approaches to the facility should be designed so that water doesn’t collect on the level surfaces. Likewise, outdoor approaches in colder climates should be designed and adapted so that snow and ice do not collect in front of the doors and on access paths and ramps.

    Easy Access

    Access to areas, rooms and doors should be easy and instinctive, even to those with the most severe physical challenges. Handrails should be placed so that those who are in wheelchairs can grasp them as easily as those patients who walk.

    Door handles should be easy to operate as well. The SOSS UltraLatch offers an innovative, easy-to-use and ADA compliant door latch for patients with limitations of the hand, wrist or arm. For the sight-challenged, signs with large print and good contrast should be used to help indicate the way through hallways and to reception areas and dining rooms.

    Color and Music

    Warm colors combined with music that both uplifts and soothes can increase the sense of well-being in a rehab center. Patients feel better when the atmosphere is nurturing and welcoming. Cheery colors and seasonal holiday decorations contribute a great deal to making a rehab center a place of possibilities and hope. Because the atmosphere can help the attitude of a patient, providing a positive and warm environment is extremely important.

    Rehab centers have rapidly become a place that more and more people visit, whether they are entering a center as a patient or as a family member or friend who is supporting a patient. To improve on rehab centers of the past, new designs are offering many features that contribute to the healing of their residents and patients.

    The small touches of comfort and convenience may not always be the most evident, but they may contribute the most to the patient's overall sense of wellness.

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