ADA Compliant

  • 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.

  • 5 Items Why Seniors Avoid Your Retirement Community

    13293877_sCreating a vital and engaging world within a retirement community is challenging. Baby-boomers entering these communities expect to maintain a high quality of life as they age. Here are five key reasons potential residents won’t join your retirement community.

    No Sense of Connection

    Retirees come in many ages, levels of mobility and ability, but one thing they all need is a sense of community. People want to live in a place where they can connect with others and experience friendship. A lack of communal dining, restrictive visitation hours, and lack of accessibility to the facility can all contribute to a feeling of isolation.

    Every Day Inconveniences

    A lack of attention to detail can look like a lack of concern for a potential resident. Comfort and convenience in every aspect of life should be evident in the design of the resident’s rooms.

    For instance, aging hands sometimes struggle with the simplest tasks, such as opening a door. Installing easy-to-use ADA complaint door handles like the SOSS UltraLatch shows care for those with mobility challenges.

    Lack of Activities

    A good retirement community will feature a large variety of internal activities, such as games and social events. Activities and interacting with others keep people engaged and helps keep them happy. A lack of these is a sign that healthy mental aging is not a priority in a retirement community.

    Not having a gym is another red flag. Because maintaining mobility is such a critical factor in healthy aging, the lack of gym facilities can turn away potential residents.

    Hidden Costs

    Most retirees are living on a fixed budget. With cost being a concern, not revealing all the costs and fees of living in your retirement community can reflect badly on its reputation.

    Do not cover up the daily fees and let the residents discover the additional costs on their monthly bills. Hidden costs only help create mistrust between management and the residents.

    Inadequate Support and Assistance

    Although residents may not require extra support and assistance when they first move into a retirement community, many prefer to have access to these benefits in case they need them as they grow older. Lack of services such as shuttles to doctor appointments or enhanced emergency responses for sicknesses and accidents can make residents question an extended stay in your community.

    Today’s retirees are a new type of senior citizen. Many are smart, savvy, and discerning, wanting the best and the most their money can buy. They want a good life and an enjoyable one. Paying attention to what they need and providing for those needs before they ask is the secret to a successful retirement community.

  • Getting Your Medical Practice Ready for Seniors

    The increased effectiveness of modern health care and the large population of the baby-boomer generation have combined to create new challenges for today’s physicians. Doctors who deal with this rapidly growing patient base are finding that their medical practices need to be adjusted and adapted to provide the best possible service and medical care.

    However, identifying exactly what needs to be changed and improved can be challenging. Here are a few suggestions for getting a medical practice ready for the new generation of senior citizens.

    Caring and Considerate Staff

    The kindness and caring attitude of office workers, nurses, and other medical personnel is extremely important when dealing with people who are aging. It can be difficult to remain patient and considerate while handling the limitations and issues of older people who are ill or may be suffering from dementia. Not only are the patients experiencing the effects of illness, but they are also feeling the effects of aging, which can be very upsetting and disorienting.

    Dealing with these personality issues on a daily basis can be demanding. Make sure your office and support staff have the right type of personality traits and demeanor for your aging patients.

    Enhance Your Environment

    Take a good look at the physical aspects of your office and make sure it can be adapted or remodeled to handle the senior clientele. All approaches will need to be wheelchair-accessible which requires ramps with a low degree of slant as well as textured surfaces to allow for better traction. Elevator panels may need to be lowered for those in wheelchairs, and they may need to be modified with larger print and buttons for patients who have eye problems.

    Doors may need to be adapted, making them easier to open. People with arthritis or patients who have recently undergone hand, arm or wrist surgery may not be able to use a traditional door handle. Installing an ADA compliant door handle, like the SOSS Ultralatch, will allow patients with limited grasping ability or special needs to open any door.

    Changes in Office Routine

    Office routines may also be affected by your aging patients. Depending on your specialty or the fact that the majority of your patients are elderly, existing systems and processes may need to be updated or completely changed.

    Scheduling office visits is one such aspect. Due to difficulties in comprehension and delays in communication, some older patients require longer office visits than younger patients. Because a patient may require more consultation time than the next, scheduling a longer appointment for each patient regardless of their medical condition may be necessary to ensure that waiting room times do not become excessive.

    Adapting your practice for senior citizens is not a monumental task but it is one that demands careful attention to several aspects of aging. Small changes made with great consideration can make a big difference in how your aging patients experience your care.

  • 5 Ways Architects can Deliver Independence to Seniors


    According to the AARP survey, more than 90% of seniors wish to remain in their own homes rather than live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Their homes can be retirement homes or communities where independent living is still allowed.

    People feel empowered and autonomous when they can control their surroundings. At nursing homes, they have to operate on a set schedule and that doesn’t bode well for seniors who’ve been independent for decades.

    At their own homes, seniors can keep their favorite pictures and belongings, have companion animals, and their loved ones can visit without having to follow a strict schedule.

    Nursing homes are often the last resort for seniors who are cognitively impaired. If they suffer from just a slight immobility, they can still stay in their independent retirement homes with a couple adjustments.

    For seniors, in home care services can be helpful. Qualified caregivers drop by as often as needed to help with light housekeeping, personal hygiene, medication re-minders, going to doctor’s appointments, and more.

    Retirement homes themselves are now being designed to accommodate seniors and promote autonomy. While senior homes are built with certain standards already sometimes small details are overlooked.

    Paying attention to interior architecture can keep seniors mobile and safe. Here are some of the ways:

    1. Latch-Style Door

    Arthritis is common among seniors. It makes everyday living painful and difficult. Doorknobs require turning and strength, causing increased pain associated with arthritis. Doors are better replaced with specific types of senior living door latches.

    UltraLatch by SOSS are arthritis friendly door latches. Instead of turning and pulling, the UltraLatch only requires light tapping and pushing and is an intuitive way to open doors. Door latches is one element that most people take for granted, but having an ADA compliant door latch such as the UltraLatch can make a night and day difference for seniors suffering from arthritis or other injuries.

    2. No-Step Entries

    Seniors are often in wheelchairs or use walkers. Steps are difficult to climb and can raise the risk of falling. To circumvent this, entries to the house must be barrier-free or have a ramp installed.

    3. Garage Lift

    Garage often has two or three steps to the inside of the home. Garage lift allows someone in a wheelchair to gain access from the garage or parking structure to inside.

    4. Light Switches

    Rocker-type light switches are easier on the hands than the more common flip switches.

    5. Large Windows

    It’s been proven that natural lighting is helpful for mood disorders and depression. Seniors are more prone to sadness and depression than any other age group. Large windows (10 to 20% larger) that let in a lot of natural light can help with this.

    These are just a few of the design elements that architects can incorporate when building senior homes or retirement communities. The most important thing is try-ing to empathize with seniors and design intelligent architectural solutions about how their lives can be improved by paying attention to small details.

  • 3 Similarities that Most Senior Living Communities Share


    13293864_sIn 2013, persons 65 years or older comprised 14.1% of the U.S. population. It is projected that by 2040, this age group will grow to 21.7% of the population. It is no secret that the U.S. is aging, some states faster than others.

    There’s a higher demand for senior living communities than ever before. Not all such communities are built the same though. Some can represent ultimate luxury while others focus more on the basics.

    Despite the price gap, most senior living communities have similarities that are designed to make the lives of seniors easier. Here are the 3 common similarities these communities have:

    1. Slip-Resistant Floors

    It’s startling that one out of three older people fall every year. Falling once increases the chances of falling again by twofold.

    Falls can be costly. They can cause head injury or broken bones. The CDC estimates that more than 95% of hip fractures are due to falling, usually sideways.

    Falls also have mental and emotional side effects that aren’t discussed often. People who fall once are afraid of falling again. They’ll try to cut down on activities, which can cause them to be weaker and increase the chances of falling again. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Senior living communities are well aware of the statistics related to falling, so many install slip-resistant flooring. A resilient floor surface prevents falling even when wet. Although no flooring is 100% slip-proof, with skid-free floor mats and rugs, the chances of falling can be greatly reduced.

    2. Doors That Are Easy on Hands

    Millions of seniors suffer from arthritis. What used to come easily, like opening bottles or turning doorknobs, becomes arduous and painful. Senior living door latches require a special consideration.

    There are some ADA Compliant arthritis friendly door latches in the market. UltraLatch by SOSS is one of them. With lever-style doorknobs like UltraLatch, no senior with arthritis has to think twice about whether it’s worth the pain to open the door.

    3. Walk-In Showers

    According to the National Institute of Aging, 80% of seniors who fall do so in their bathroom. Due to the slippery nature of the bathroom, this is not very surprising.

    Walk-in showers with low entry can help mitigate this problem. Many senior communities have walk-in showers, also known as step-in showers, instead of traditional tubs.

    They also have grab bars, flexible shower wand, and other features friendly for seniors. Because falls can happen as a result of poor eyesight, bright but indirect lighting in the bathroom can also help.

    While senior living communities differ from one another, most of them are designed to maximize the comfort and safety of their residents. The similarities above are common and rightfully expected in any decent senior home.

  • Designing for the Disabled with Arthritis On The Rise

    37248616_sLike the rest of the world, the population in the United States is aging fast. That means more seniors will suffer from arthritis.

    But arthritis is not a condition that’s just associated with the elderly. More than 50 million people from all age groups currently suffer from this condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by 2030, more than 67 million people aged 18 years and older will be diagnosed with arthritis.

    It’s necessary to design homes and products for these people in mind. Home design trends already indicate that there’s a strong interest in “accessible design” that can accommodate multiple generations of people living in the same household.

    Accessible Design Elements

    Not everyone has the luxury of custom-building a house for a family member who has arthritis. But some most of these ideas require a simple retrofitting.

    1. Non-Slippery Floors

    People with osteoarthritis in their knees are more prone to slipping and falling, leading to more serious injuries. Therefore, floors should be covered with slip-resistant materials like nonskid rugs. For people using walkers, low-pile carpeting prevents them from catching on deep pile and falling.

    2. Safe Stairs

    For arthritis patients, stairs or even a slight step can be dangerous and difficult. Although it’s ideal for them to stay on the lowest floor, that might not always be possible. For example, there might be no bedroom on the first floor of a 2-story townhouse. In this case, installing handrails on both sides are a must. If handrails are not enough consider installing a chair lift. Stairways should also have ample lighting to prevent falls.

    3. No Doorknobs

    Being able to open doors by turning doorknobs is something healthy people can take for granted. Arthritis makes it hard, even painful for people to turn a doorknob. A simple solution is installing a lever-style doorknob. There are many arthritis friendly door latches in the market. SOSS is a company that specializes in UltraLatch – a different kind of doorknob that doesn’t require turning or gripping.

    4. Safe Baths

    Many homes come with tubs. Tubs are great for relaxation but they’re not easy to get into and out of for people with arthritis. Step-in showers with low entry solve this problem. Grab bars in the showers and by the toilet can further help prevent falls.

    5. Accessible Kitchen

    Good kitchen design for people with arthritis includes cabinets that are the right height so they don’t have to reach up or bend down. Dishwasher can also be raised for people with back pain.

    Designing for the disabled doesn’t have to be expensive or require a complete remodel of the house. With some creativity, many places in the house can be retrofitted to include all of the design elements above. These ideas will ensure that people with arthritis or other disabilities aren’t living in pain when performing their day-to-day tasks.

  • Architectural Advancements That Are Helping the Elderly

    10218140_smallDesigning for the elderly is not the same as it is for people in their 20s or even those that are middle-aged.

    Although some trends indicate that homes are now being designed for people to grow old in, it is more common for seniors to move into another home when they lose their mobility. One of the options for those seniors is a senior living community exclusively for the elderly.

    When designing homes for the elderly, many architects fail to see through the eyes of the people who will actually be living in those homes. Many seniors suffer from arthritis or balance disorder. They may have issues with eye sight, hearing, in a wheel chair, using a walker or recovering from a stroke.

    But the homes are often designed without these issues in mind – that’s why there are so many senior homes with steps. Even the tiniest steps can cause problems.

    Poorly designed homes can contribute to poor quality of life. If seniors can’t navigate around their homes with ease, they can’t reasonably take care of themselves.

    Homes designed for senior living don’t always require large changes or investments. They can be simple senior living friendly design changes. Architects just need to see things a little differently. Here are a couple small ideas that have helped seniors.

    1. Step-In Showers

    As people get older, their mobility is compromised. Step-in showers reduce the risk of falls by providing low-entry. Even people in wheelchairs can easily get in step-in showers.

    2. Ultra Latch

    Ultra Latch door latches are ADA compliant senior living door latches. They’re one of the best arthritis friendly door latches currently in the market, designed by SOSS.

    Instead of a traditional doorknob that requires pulling or turning, Ultra Latch is a lever-style that simply requires you to tap, pull slightly (1/2 an inch) or push it lightly to open the door. It’s great for seniors who are suffering from arthritis or have limited dexterity in their hands for any reason, since arthritis patients often have a hard time doing tasks many of us take for granted everyday it can be frustrating.

    Ultra Latch is not only functional and practical, but also aesthetically pleasing. The best thing about it is that it can be retrofitted for all kinds of doors. So as people age or start showing symptoms for arthritis, Ultra Latch can be installed to ease the process of aging.

    Fortunately for seniors, there have been considerable architectural and technological advancements to help them stay healthy and mobile. Wearable devices keep track of heart rate in real time and keep medical professionals and the loved ones updated. Robotic technology like exoskeletons allows less mobile seniors to walk. Simple ideas like step-in showers and Ultra Latch may seem less impressive, but they make all the difference for seniors and may help them stay in their homes and independent longer.

  • How ADA Compliant Door Latches Improve Senior Living Designs

    doctor discussing arthritis with patient.People with arthritis, and other debilitating medical issues need ADA compliant senior living friendly designs for door latches. They often have a hard time performing seemingly easy tasks. They can’t open a bag of chips. They only wear clothes they can pull on, because their arthritic wrists won’t let them handle buttons.

    They have to weigh the consequences of opening the door and being in pain versus just suffering through the inconvenience. This is a problem. They don’t have to eat chips or wear button-up shirts. But at some point in their everyday life, they’ll have to go through a door, sometimes more than one.

    Many doors are designed with the able-bodied in mind. Grabbing door handles and turning doorknobs are skills that come to toddlers. At age two, kids learn to unscrew jars and manipulate small objects. Arthritis or other forms of disability take away that simple power.

    Arthritis is often associated with seniors, but it’s a condition that can happen to anyone at any age. Doors can be easily retrofitted with arthritis friendly door latches. Here are some options:

    1. Doorknob Grippers

    These grippers fit over existing doorknobs. They make it easier to grasp door handles and reduce stress. Because they don’t require a special tool to install, the convenience factor is high.

    2. Doorknob Extensions

    Door knob extensions offer a 5-inch lever that goes over the existing doorknob so it’s easier to grab and pull down, instead of turning. It requires less pressure to open the door, so it’s good for people with arthritis, one arm, or those who have limited range of motion.

    3. Ergonomic Door Handles

    Traditional door knobs require gripping and turning. For very mild arthritis, doorknob grippers and extensions will do the trick. But more severe arthritis requires a different approach altogether. Many times arthritis gets worse instead of better, so skimping on doorknobs will not work. Enter Ultra Latch.

    Ultra Latch is a special type of doorknob designed by SOSS. It is ADA-compliant and only requires a simple touch; no turning required. It’s also designed to fit human hands, comfortable, and comes in different styles to match any existing door.

    Ultra Latch is ideal for senior living communities and people recovering from long-term disability. Doors that have Ultra Latch installed can be opened using just fingers, an elbow, or the hip.

    Vancouver has the right idea when it comes to door knobs. In Vancouver, door knobs are being phased out. Since March 2013, new housing in the city is required to install levers on doors and faucets instead of traditional doorknobs.

    For seniors to lead productive lives, they’ll need doors that are easy to open. It’s such a simple idea yet it’s surprising to see why most doorknobs aren’t designed to accommodate seniors or people with disabilities.

    Architects designing homes and senior living communities should take a look at the Ultra Latch as one possible solution and creating a better living space.



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