• Finding the Best: A Breakdown of ADA Compliant Door Hardware

    The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) was crafted to assist those with certain ailments to have the same level of access as the able bodied. Over the years this has led to regulations in many industries, including door hardware.

    Many architects and builders feel like they are stuck with a standard door lever and just design around it. There are other options when it comes to getting a door open (more on that in a minute).

    Here’s a look at a few of the door hardware pieces that typically go into any public building and the best cases for use each.

    Hydraulic Closer

    Heavy doors are common in public places, and having the ability for them to close behind a person comes in handy. Imagine a person with a walker or in a wheelchair needs access to a room behind a door. Without a hydraulic closer, they may be put in an unsafe predicament trying to close the door behind them (especially if it’s heavy).

    This piece of equipment saves countless people from falling or sustaining injury by allowing them to pass all the way into the room before the door closes securely behind them, without the need for assistance.

    Door Lever

    If you’ve been in any public building in the U.S. you’ve seen a lever door handle. The type of handle you see in a private home (a knob) isn’t easy to turn if you have limited mobility in your hands. Some individuals have an impairment (e.g. arthritis) or lack the strength/ability to turn the knob and regulations require that ADA compliant door handles be installed in every public place.

    Unfortunately, the “standard” levers aren’t great for all public spaces.

    Being limited to a lever may be fine in an office or school, but for those who design lodgings for the elderly or disabled it may not be the best option.

    Handles still require wrist strength and a turning twisting motion to open a door. If you design nursing homes, rehabilitation clinics, or other facilities that will be frequented or inhabited by a large disabled population, these handles may not be the best option.

    A Better ADA Compliant Door Handle

    Our UltraLatch door handle can be the answer to helping those less able open doors without having to turn their wrists at all. You simply push or pull our handle and the door is unlatched. If the door opens out, the handle allows for a stable door pull. If it opens inwardly, you can just push your weight into the door handle and gain entry (or exit).

    Our door hardware has helped thousands of architects and builders make their designs both beautiful and functional as well giving them the highest ADA compliant door hardware on the market. Find out more about the SOSS UltraLatch here.


  • 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.

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