Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Pointers for Seniors To Age In Their Homes/Austin Aging in Place

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Apr 27, 2022 @ 11:04 AM

Everyone is living longer only to experience many life-challenging events during an extended lifespan.The desire to remain in your current home is not driven by age. This need is a reaction to and the result of life's experience. Any family living with a disability among any of its family members will always benefit from familiar surroundings. To increase safety and independence within your current home, certain modifications to increase accessibility and use are typically required. These modifications include but are not limited to wider doorways, the installation of ramps, inclusive kitchen modifications, accessible bathroom modifications, and the application of smooth, non-skid flooring. When planning on what modifications are needed, always make a list of the home's most problematic areas for any or all of its residents. This basic desire is creating unprecedented nationwide challenges and a niche market in the remodeling industry known as Aging in Place. The majority of Americans over the age of 45 want to continue living in an environment they are well acquainted with throughout their maturing years. These people are looking for safety, security, ease of use, and comfort for their forever home before they must vacate due to specialized needs. 

Aging In Place Home Modifications

But where did this commonly seen lack of home accessibility in nearly all homes come from? Perpetual, status quo building techniques, and affordability provide the answers. Over time, along with the exponential birth rate of the baby boomers in the late 40s and 50s, the need for more housing created sprawling American suburbs to accommodate the growing families. Developments sprang up with few architectural options while affordability was the main concern. Today, these same homes slowly and increasingly signify outdated and obsolete architectural barriers exposing a true lack of accessibility for the very people inhabiting them. The situation is ever more expanding in time since the greatest majority of individuals want to age where they currently reside. 

Aging In Place Remodel in Austin

According to the AARP, 80 percent of older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to Age in Place, which means living in a home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. People with disabilities are aging but healthy individuals are aging into a disability. Aging in Place strictly deals with the remodeling of existing homes. Therefore, to Age in Place, owners need to gradually modify their homes as they mature increasing access and safety using the principles of Universal Design before a life-changing event forces making sudden architectural changes. The Aging in Place market in the U.S. today is influenced by the increasing size of the aging population, the market desire to remain in one's home, a constantly increasing cultural diversity, and the aging housing stock associated with reduced affordability. The desire to remain in existing homes is driven by social attachments via a network of neighbors, friends, and family. Comfortable positive aging is a way of living rather than a state of being.  What's more, seniors who took a proactive approach in modifying their homes over time offer peace of mind to their loved ones who know their family members are living safely and independently in their homes. 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Clearly, the act of Aging in Place occurs during a period of time when mature homeowners or seniors have the ability to make decisions to better support an increased quality of life. There are three segments served within the Aging in Place marketplace. The first segment includes those homeowners without urgent needs. The second segment focuses on a group of homeowners with progressive health needs. The third sector involves those people who have undergone traumatic health changes or accidental injuries necessitating immediate modifications to the home. The choice to Age in Place does not mean the homeowner has to do everything in the future by themselves. Aging in Place principles supports responsible people living life with dignity and independence even when outside assistance is essential.

T-Square Company is one of Austin's premier Aging in Place contractors offering complete Aging in Place services from home assessments to design/builds. We have over 30 years of accessibility knowledge to share with our clients making their home life less complicated. We hold a nationally recognized CAPS certification (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) offered by the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. Contact T-Square Company today to find out how to proceed toward an accessible second chapter of your life while remaining at home. We offer complete Aging in Place design services.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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ADA Contractor/Austin, Texas/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Mar 07, 2022 @ 11:03 AM

Millions of Americans are living longer and have more active lives.  While this group is embracing newly found and changing lifestyles, a need to revitalize their home environments has come about.  Identifying this major opportunity while developing the skills to interact with those needful homeowners has created a new type of elder remodeling.  A certified aging-in-place specialist or CAPS home remodeler has completed the coursework and training in how to help keep existing homeowners in their homes longer. They will be listed in a national directory compiled by the NAHB in Washington. The CAPS certificate holders act as ADA Contractors utilizing the ADA published rules. Their final accessible designs involve the ADA handbook as a guide but are not strictly held to all the ADA standards and regulations because they are funded with private monies. However, accessible CAPS designs are customized around the client's abilities. 

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place and ADA accessibility in Austin, Texas.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company is an ADA contractor in Austin, Texas abiding by the published ADA rules for their extremely disabled clients.

There are three categories of aging-in-place customers. Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes. The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues that will come as a result of their disease. People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group. The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life-altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings requiring bathrooms with disability access. The goal of an Austin ADA compliant remodel or an accessible bathroom design is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. Aging in place services use design techniques to accommodate wheelchair users and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. It is important to carefully outline the scope of work during the remodeling of an accessible bathroom by first taking inventory of the user's capabilities, needs, and preferences.  All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. CAPS certified remodeling and aging in place design must be carried out by aging in place specialists and residential remodeling professionals.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen in Austin

 

Home Accessibility Help

Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to any individual personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

The three main rooms involved in aging in place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room in that order.  These areas make up the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route.  Here we will need access through wider doorways, non-slip floor surfaces, and adequate cabinet and plumbing fixture accessibility.  What is more important is that we must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to age in place within their homes.  Just remember one thing and dispel any myth that aging in place construction and remodeling must appear institutional or out of the ordinary. When the work is done with style and taste it will only compliment the home.

An accessible bathroom should try to maintain a five-foot turning radius for wheelchair use if at all possible. Have your plumbing facilities brought into compliance to enable freedom and safety.  The use of grab bars within the tub or shower and around the toilet can be very helpful in ensuring your safety for maneuverability.  These should be installed at 34 inches above the finished floor to safeguard your use of them.  Having roll under capability for the new 34" high vanity can be very helpful while you are in the wheelchair.  Exact clearances of 27" high and 32" in width should be complied with underneath the vanity.  The proper safety equipment should be installed on the plumbing pipes that don't allow scalding of your legs. The toilet may need to be replaced providing a comfort level height that is around 18" in height for easier access.  The tub or shower may need to be altered to become only a shower with roll-in or possibly transfer capabilities.  All of these changes must be done along with the  ADA guidelines for your safety.

The door width requirement of 32" or more will be true for any room in the house if you are to enter them barrier-free.  The kitchen, your bedroom, and any other rooms you require accessibility to enter could be affected.  Even the closet door within your bedroom will need to be wide enough so that you can manage to get your clothes to dress.  Any other bedrooms that you may need to enter with your wheelchair will also need alterations.

The accessible kitchen is another story altogether.  You will need the roll-under capability as mentioned above at the kitchen sink, cooktop, or food prep area. Upper kitchen cabinet heights become an issue and require pull-down mechanisms for better access. Multiple height worksurfaces between 28 and 34 inches offer flexibility to all users. No matter what you end up doing, make sure to hire an experienced building professional who understands the ADA guidelines for your well-being. Contact T-Square Company at 512-444-0097 today for all your newly discovered accessibility needs.

Improve Handicap Accessibility

 

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Disability Remodeling Services/Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Feb 24, 2022 @ 13:02 PM

Preparing for one of those highly likely events involving someone in your home needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery is surely a smart move. The new evolving concept known as Universal Design for home remodeling is catching on nationwide and has been for several years as a sign of the times. Universal design techniques used in a building make a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities and at any age. An evolution of new products used in room modifications making homes more accessible has come about in the remodeling industry. These new advances in home remodeling not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics or resale value.  Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and countertops, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways, installing stairlifts, designing and building accessible bathrooms, and widening doors. You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier-to-use door levers. You should try to provide a clear barrier-free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home. The published guidelines for ADA accessibility for buildings and facilities are a great resource for ideas on how to make a home safer and easier to live in. Homes can become more accessible to people as they age. Many of these published ADA guidelines, particularly requirements for corridor and door widths, safety bars, and proper access to different types of facilities can go a long way in extending the amount of time an elderly or physically impaired individual can live independently.

If you have been considering a bathroom renovation with better accessibility or an accessible kitchen remodeling project in Austin there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Accessible bathroom upgrades can take on many looks and facets.  The scope of work you choose to accomplish this task should effectively solve your physical challenges and most importantly, your needs as the homeowner-- for now and for the future. The identification of these specific needs belongs to you the homeowner.  The way your home is structurally altered to help with special needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor holding a CAPS certification.  A thorough assessment by a Certified Aging in Place professional will identify your home's architectural barriers and what is required to remove them. Accessibility should be a concern no matter what your age.  If your concerns are not for you,  barring any life-changing accident, they could concern the accessibility of another generation's independence in using the restroom.  CAPS professionals in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these issues while performing design/build home modifications.

Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolve regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness. Some of our societal statistics that weigh into aging in place situations include reports stating that 19% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 and 42% of those of us 65 and over have a physical disability affecting the activities of our daily lives.  For a progressive condition,  aging in place home remodeling in Austin definitely comes into play.  This is the only way to ensure both the safety and mobility for the homeowner or family member requiring the home modifications.  The two main groups driving elder construction and the aging in place market are those people who are 65 and over and the baby boomers.  The first group is projected to reach 55 million in 2020.  The baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1965 today make up 28% of the U.S.  population and are made up of some 77 million people.  Modifications of existing homes are important because people age 50 and older want to remain in their current homes for as long as possible.  Aging in place home modifications in Austin should only be done by a CAPS-certified remodeling company.  This is the only way that you can be assured that the home modifications are the right choices to satisfy your needs.  There is no need to waste money only to find out that the wrong alterations were done by an inexperienced and unqualified remodeling company.  Always check their credentials to verify that the remodeler holds a CAPS certification. All registered CAPS program graduates and their remodeling companies will be listed in a national registry in Washington.  The information can be found by simply visiting nahb.org/CAPS.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

 

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

 

Conquer A Tub To Shower Conversion

 

Wheelchair accessible ADA kitchen


Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company offers complete disabled home modifications in Austin using our design/build philosophy. We have over 35 years of accessibility experience in the commercial and private market sectors. We specialize in disability remodeling projects for our special needs clients.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

What are some of the costs involved? Whether you desire a roll-in shower, accessible sink, or merely clear and unobstructed access to your existing bath, a CAPS professional can help you increase your accessibility. The professional national CAPS certification holder can not only help you with the design of what you desire but is competent and professionally qualified to carry out any construction needed. Certainly, there are many upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation. The replacement of the tub with a new walk-in shower can create a bold look but will run around $14,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom remodels. You can plan on spending around $12,000 to $15,000 for a hall bath remodel. The price tag can approach or exceed $35,000 for a complete master bath remodel. The type of fixtures and building components chosen along with the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project. These prices are based on long-lasting home modifications requiring time to install using proper construction techniques. T-Square Company's design/builds are not to be confused with pop-in kits offered by others claiming they will be accomplished in a couple of days.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

It is true that a trained CAPS professional and remodeling contractor with years of experience will cost you more than a handyman illegally playing among the trades at your peril but then again there are those professional guarantees to consider.  The professional versus the handyman is more likely to seek your overall satisfaction that will follow him into his next job.  A true building professional can also orchestrate the job's smooth flow limiting the downtime of a most useful room.  Subcontractors will not be covered up and each skilled trade is brought onto the site as needed in an orderly fashion.  Professionals normally have insurance to cover on-the-job accidents to protect the homeowners from having legal action brought against them personally.  Be sure you ask for a certificate of insurance from your chosen professional contractor so that you aren't held personally liable for medical expenses covering a worker's accident while on your property.  Don't forget that only certified aging in place (CAPS) professionals can help you solve your accessibility needs and concerns.  The aging-in-place considerations specifically used in homes today where the owner is planning to retire are all a part of training and experience. Call T-Square Company today at 512-444-0097 and discover how precise home modifications will offer you extended comfort, safety, and independence within your existing home. 

Home Accessibility Help

 

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Age in Place At Home/Home Accessibility Help

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Jan 19, 2022 @ 12:01 PM

AIPSTUD cover4-1

Everyone planning to remain in their home to Age in Place is looking for safety, security, ease of use, and comfort. Homeowners and families must plan for future housing needs. The current housing inventory does not offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers required to accommodate the growing demand. They have weighed the costs of institutional living compared to their home’s expenses. They also realize the difference in adhering to stringent rules in a facility instead of independently and freely residing in their present home.

Before and after retirement is an excellent time to prepare the house for what comes next in life—before any significant health issues appear. Choosing to Age in Place earlier in life using Universal Design techniques means a family can longer enjoy the home without obstruction. Their relatives, visitors, and children have peace of mind assured the aging loved ones or the chronically ill are safer living at home.

The truth is, with professional help, you can adapt almost any home environment to enable you and everyone else in the family to live within it to the fullest extent safely. The process is not age-related. Disability can strike any family member at any age. The need for greater home accessibilty is the common thread. Universal Design or inclusive design is a design and building pathway that makes homes more accessible to all regardless of their age, mobility, or ability when appropriately used. The design process offers a seamless path for Aging in Place. It addresses the requirements of special needs families or multigenerational situations. Solutions for diverse living conditions are now becoming a possibility.

Regardless of size or ability, people are becoming more familiar with Universal Design and Aging in Place if considering a home remodeling project. Some people use these words interchangeably, but while they are similar, they do differ. Both are specific design techniques used in making a home more comfortable and accessible for individuals of different abilities. Universal Design deals more with customized new dwellings and a proactive remodeling approach for people wanting to Age in Place before any health issues arise. Aging in Place strictly involves remodeling existing homes to accommodate physical needs brought on by sudden health issues in a reactive manner. The costs for both processes represent a beneficial investment in your home for future needs as opposed to merely spending involving aesthetically pleasing remodeling projects.

I came to realize over my building career that including cramped twisting hallways with narrow doorways, bathrooms lacking maneuvering space and usability, kitchens without accessible storage and workspaces, and stepped home entries were repeating home design flaws. The home building industry has always lacked inclusion for all homeowners with their ever-changing needs.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

As a Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) professional (#1636580), I am confident this book, which will hopefully be available toward the end of 2022, will introduce you to a new way of thinking about your home's future. It offers a guide for solving diverse home needs for all people affected by varying physical conditions and aging. I decided to write this book due to many customer requests for a summation of suggestions to improve their home's accessibility, comfort, usefulness, and sustainability and, ideas they could share with others.  I based the information provided on countless past walkthroughs and home assessments. Inside, you can discover room by room the benefits of using the principles of Universal Design and how to incorporate them periodically throughout your living environment at your own pace. I guide you through a home, making suggestions for what will increase your and your family's future accessibility.  You will notice the chapters involving the bathroom and kitchen are pretty extensive. They represent the most important rooms to consider when planning to Age in Place. The most utilized rooms in our homes must accommodate all diverse residents and visitors.

Would you please not allow your home to hold you or your loved ones captive within its walls and enable your home to conform to you and the needs of your family. Please think ahead positively and proactively while preparing for the future. IT JUST MAKES GOOD SENSE.

Home Accessibility Help

#accessiblehomes

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Austin Home Modification Services

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jan 04, 2022 @ 15:01 PM

Let's face it, accessible homes are needed by all of us at some time in our lives.  It can be a temporary or a permanent need. This is true whether it's for ourselves, a family member, or a guest.  The need is certainly not driven by age but is a result of life's experience.  Any family living with a disability among any of its generations within its group can always benefit from additional accessibility. This will in turn increase safety and independence for all involved as they go through life needing elder living solutions. Acknowledging this vital societal need for challenged homeowners is why T-Square Company has offered Austin home modification services for over 25 years as one of Austins aging in place contractors. We access your living environment for greater accessibility and formulate a custom design/build solution around your specific needs. 

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

There are really three categories of aging in place customers.  Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes.  The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues that will come as a result of their disease.  People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group.  The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life-altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings.

Home Accessibility Help

Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolve regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness.  Some of our societal statistics that weigh into aging in place situations include reports stating that 19% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 and 42% of those of us 65 and over have a physical disability affecting the activities of our daily lives.  For a progressive condition,  aging in place home remodeling in Austin definitely comes into play.  This is the only way to ensure both the safety and mobility for the homeowner or family member requiring the home modifications.  The two main groups driving this aging in place market are those people who are 65 and over and the baby boomers.  The first group is projected to reach 55 million in 2020.  The baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1965 today makes up 28% of the U.S.  population and is made up of some 77 million people.  Modifications of existing homes using aging-in-place services are important because people age 50 and older want to remain in their current homes for as long as possible.  Aging in place design in Austin should only be done by a CAPS-certified remodeling company providing aging in place services.  This is the only way that you can be assured that the home modifications are the right choices to satisfy your needs.  There is no need to waste money only to find out that the wrong alterations were done by an inexperienced and non-qualified remodeling company.  Always check their credentials to verify that the remodeler holds a CAPS certification. All registered CAPS program graduates and their remodeling companies will be listed in a national registry in Washington.  The information can be found by simply visiting nahb.org/CAPS.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

      

We provide a means for our customers to remain in their homes for as long as possible through certified aging in place design.  Gaining accessibility is the key component.  Let us help you design and build a new accessible awareness for your existing home.  Aging in place home modifications in Austin can show you how an accessible route will give you access to any part of your home no matter what your mobility situation is or will become.  For obvious reasons, the bathroom and kitchen are the rooms most affected by a lack of accessibility when aging in place is a concern.

Aging In Place Specialist Austin, Texas

We are able to handle any remodeling project and focus on collaborative client-centered solutions. We are not afraid to think outside of the box for solutions that meet our client's needs. We are a company with extensive experience in physical and occupational therapy as well as construction, remodeling, and design. Our Austin aging in place services includes individualized assessments, architectural design, interior design, accessible remodeling & construction, wheelchair lifts & ramps, stairlifts, residential/commercial elevators, ceiling transfer lifts, and other simple solutions such as grab bar & railing installations.

Please call T-Square Company for all your CAPS building and remodeling needs!

      

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CAPS Services In Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Dec 16, 2021 @ 15:12 PM

What are CAPS services and what does CAPS stand for? First of all, CAPS stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist. The aging societal changes and inventory of inaccessible existing houses created the need for a CAPS certification program. This designation program, offered through the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, in collaboration with The American Association of Retired Persons or AARP, incorporates components of assessment, technical knowledge, and management skills related to home modifications used to help people stay at home safely and independently for a longer period of time. The program was developed in 2001.

Accessible Shower in Austin

The services offered by a CAPS professional varies from a complete accessible remodel to improving certain areas in the home like bathrooms or kitchens. The precise modifications increase usability according to personal needs of the homeowner and family. The CAPS program connects responsible professionals with homeowners needing specialized accessibility services on an ever-increasing basis. Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges partner up with experienced CAPS professionals and their own families. Working as a team, the trained CAPS specialist along with any family caretakers or therapists is able to identify the day-to-day problems weighing on those with health limitations. Aging in Place services provided by a specialized remodeling contractor ensures all accessibility issues of the home are accomplished correctly. T-Square Company located in Austin, Texas is one of the specialized CAPS certified contractors.

The CAPS credential is a nationwide initiative and many construction and design professionals are taking advantage of the helpful training across the nation. David L. Traut, president, and owner of T-Square Company is an active CAPS member (#1636580) and has participated in the program for over a decade. Furthermore, he has actively completed accessibility design/build remodels for over 25 years for the private sector, HUD, and the VA.  Always check a person's credentials to verify the remodeler holds an active CAPS certification and is familiar with Universal Design. All registered CAPS program graduates and remodeling companies are listed in a national registry in Washington DC. The information is found by calling 1-800-368-5242 or by simply visiting their website at: http:www.nahb.org/en/learn/designations/certified-aging-in-place-specialist.aspx.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

If the current pandemic taught us anything concerning safety and institutional living situations, we now know it is much safer to remain in your home surrounded by familiar surroundings and friends. During the stay-at-home mandates, everyone was aware of what Aging in Place meant. We all became better acquainted with our homes and family members. The best way to approach a desire to Age in Place is by being proactive before an illness takes control of your life. At that point, you must deal with it in a reactive manner. There are many differences between home modifications and a home remodel. The main difference is home modifications involve investing in your familiar home versus spending during remodeling. Home modifications are used to enhance your ADL (Activities of Daily Living) whereas remodeling deals more with aesthetics. Investing in your home will benefit your future retirement years by making your home conform to your needs.  

T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is a CAPS certified remodeler and offers design/build Aging in Place projects using principles of Universal Design. Call 512-444-0097 to discuss your project today and learn how you can achieve better accessibility within your existing home. Our knowledge and experience can help solve your personal needs within your existing home. Whether you need a safer shower, wider doorways, a zero-step entrance, or a more accessible kitchen to entertain your family and friends, T-Square Company is here to help.

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Universal Kitchen Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 @ 12:12 PM

A Universal Design approach to kitchen conception takes into account people’s varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. The diversity among the users of the kitchen includes size, age and agility. The kitchen represents the family hub, and for the designated cook of the day, it is where many hours are spent caring for the family. A Universally Designed kitchen supports the diversity of all cooks, users, and helpers. With the additional cooks like granny or the kids, the kitchen no longer adequately accommodates everyone’s participation and changes need to be made. This is especially noticeable once families decide to help each other and become multi-generational. Enlarged work spaces, larger passing areas, accessible work surfaces, storage within universal reach distances, accessible appliances, and flexible and layered lighting are a few of the inclusive changes for the kitchen. A cohesive blend of universal functionality for the abled and disabled with conventional convenience aspects for other family members is the goal guaranteeing a successful and accessible Universal Design kitchen for any home.

Universal Design Kitchen in Austin

Homes with wheelchair accessible kitchens representing a by-product of Universal Design are a predictable necessity for the ever aging population. With the right layout, it is possible to make a home for maintaining the quality of life of the homeowners with disabilities while helping them live a more healthy, safe, and independent life. Kitchens with architectural barrier free layouts are more functional for everyone involved especially when mobility devices are required. Universal Design techniques give everyone a chance for equal independence. These very basic techniques provide adaptations or specialized designs regardless of age, ability, or situation. 

In Universal Design kitchens, the work areas containing the sink and cook top have the capability of moving up and down with the touch of a button further accommodating the seated user or a helpful child. Cleaning is easier because of the adjustable height work and storage areas.  When planning a Universal Design kitchen for anyone, every aspect of the space is considered from the cabinet height to the accessibility of appliances, to the space between cabinets and walls or islands. The principles of Universal Design call for the space to be functional and accessible for everyone in the household. This includes older homeowners with mobility or sight issues, as well as younger members of the family.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

Layout and flow is especially considered when planning a Universal Design kitchen space. To promote functionality for all occupants, it is vital to consider every aspect of the design including doors, traffic patterns, and workstations. The universally designed accessible kitchen is one of usability.  People need roll under capability at the sink and at least one food prep area if nowhere else. A clear floor space of 30 x 48 inches is provided in front of each accessible appliance and these areas of approach can overlap especially at the clear 5 foot turning radius. Raised dishwashers offer easier access to dishes and lowered microwaves and other appliances solve other reach distance problems making it easier to live with a disability. 

Increase Your Accessibility

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Universal Design Garages

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 @ 18:11 PM

The garage is often overlooked when planning an Aging in Place project. A uniquely specified floor plan, special attention in how the house is entered from the garage and adequate lighting for safety encompass a Universal Design in the garage. Wider and higher clearances are required for greater accessibility. Universal Design for garages deals with the garage footprint and the associated maneuvering space around vehicles. The Universal Design garage floor plan includes a wide enough door to accommodate over-sized vehicles. A typical garage measures 22-24 feet in depth and 15-18 feet in width. Potentially accessible van storage changes a current double garage into a single car garage when the wheelchair user is entering or exiting the garage from a side door of the van. A clear five feet turning radius at the loading spot is observed allowing the wheelchair to freely move about. The single vehicle consumes the entire garage space since 15 feet in width is needed for van access on the side. Storage of a second vehicle resumes following the transport and unloading of the wheelchair user. Eighteen feet wide by eight feet tall over-sized garage doors are adequate for most any over-sized vehicle clearance. If rear vehicle ramps are needed for loading or unloading the disabled passenger supplementary space is needed.  The van is backed into the garage for this situation assuring the wheelchair user is underneath a protecting roof.

Universal Design Garage Layout in Austin

A typical garage has a 4 inch tire curb bump protecting the home from water flowing in.  This curb bump requires at least a 4 feet long ramp to overcome the change in elevation. The overall garage space is reduced using this accessibility aid. If the sunken garage has multiple steps, consider a space saving vertical platform lift as opposed to an extended ramp. This ultimately saves precious maneuvering garage space. Universal Design entries into the house require a no step entry through a 36 inch wide door. One major advantage concerning garage entries is they provide total weather protection for a disadvantaged person transitioning into the home heading toward the accessible route. To make entering the home even easier, install an electric door opener operated from a smartphone or keypad. It opens with the touch of a button and the integrated electric strike eliminates the need to fumble for keys. The opener has a built in safety delay allowing a person to pass clear of the door entrance before closing.

If adequate lighting in the garage was never a consideration it must be upgraded per Universal Design concepts. Proper lighting is one of the key components in Universal Design. It will help eliminate tripping and falling. At least one or more additional lights are installed where needed to overcome this problem especially in the direct vicinity of the home entrance door. These additional lights can be controlled by a motion switch causing them to come on automatically when anything enters the garage.  

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design    

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Maneuvering In and Around The Accessible Home

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 @ 17:11 PM

The number one safety hazard for elderly or disabled people of any age is negotiating level changes both outside and within the home--steps at the entry, stairs between floors, curbs to step over when entering the bath or shower, and being able to access patios, decks, and terraces. When Universal Design is correctly incorporated into a home’s layout, these flexible houses accommodate the needs of their owners and their visitors even as those needs evolve over time. Barrier free homes are functional and comfortable as well as accessible to everyone.

Visitability or the lack thereof begins at the curb for every home. This term refers to how easy it is for all people coming by to pay a visit or stay with the homeowner regardless of their physical abilities. Occupants and visitors are capable of entering an accessible bathroom located on the same floor representing the visitability of the home. Ideally, the entry into the house is through a 36 inch wide door having an ADA threshold to create a no step entry.  Entrance is obtained using an easily graspable lever style lock.

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The accessible entrance is a great place to begin an accessible route for most homes. Once inside the structure a new set of problems concerning accessibility are discovered along the extended accessible route if the entire first floor is not on one single level. The designated accessible route continues into all of the most used rooms increasing accessibility. All swinging doors are minimally 36 inches wide using Universal Design along the accessible route producing a clear 32 inch wide opening when the door is opened to ninety degrees. Sliding, pocket, and bi-fold doors require less operating approach space because the door is better contained along the wall in which it is mounted.

With increasing age or following a temporary health setback, simply maneuvering around inside the home is increasingly more difficult. This designated route includes a 5 x 5 foot clear turning space required for wheelchairs in the main living area, kitchen, the bedroom, and one bathroom. The selection, placement, and design of doors and doorways influence a wide range of people. The location of the doorways affects furniture placement and usable space within the associated room. This in turn affects the clear floor space and usability of the living environment for someone confined to a wheelchair utilizing the accessible route.

Home Accessibility Help

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Applying Universal Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Nov 11, 2020 @ 15:11 PM

The goal of Universal Design is to create a living environment allowing as many people as possible to use it without further major adaptations. Simply defined, Universal Design is a human centered method of design seeking to create environments and products offering safety and comfort for all people with no need for further adaptation or functional changes. No one ever enters a well thought out inclusive Universal Design room reporting the room as being accessible. Everyone does mutually agree it is a good idea. Universal Design creates a supportive environment where the home is designed to suit the homeowner’s changing needs from children to adults. Universal Design addresses future accessibility concerns in newer homes and present day remodels when used in the building process.

Universal Design Bathroom Remodel In Austin

A serious accident is not always required to bring to realization the short comings of an inaccessible home. The limitations and demands of an aging body, the needs of a child, or an elderly visitor distinguish this awareness. The earlier in life the elements of Universal Design are used in a home the longer the entire family has to enjoy them. Once disability is recognized and conceived in a way forcing the redesign of the living environment, it never appears abnormal using Universal Design. It appears to most people as a creative aspect of a home. The invisible nature of this design process allows everyone to benefit from its accessibility without calling attention to anyone. Most everyone benefits from Universal Design because if a design works well for the disabled it works better for everyone on a universal basis. It offers flexibility and adaptability for adding universal accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It does not matter if a person is young or old, short or tall, healthy or ill. They might have a disability or be a star athlete. With Universal Design ideas, very diverse and different people enjoy the same home no matter the circumstances.

Universal Design features in a home involve the use of standard universal building products and materials arranged differently or completely omitted for accomplishing greater accessibility with fewer architectural barriers. The same building processes are used for both traditional designs and Universal Designs. The difference is in the final overall open plan and layout and the uninterrupted traffic flow potential of the universal home. How successful a Universally Designed home is depends on how occupants and future visitors feel when entering. The universal home is comfortable for children, a visiting older relative, or a friend who is ill or injured. It is more advantageous if people simply change their way of thinking and ultimately the way the homes are built from the beginning. This is the only way of building forever homes for the future. If everyone demands homes capable of aging requiring fewer major and only minor modifications eventually to Age in Place, the home building industry finally satisfies the needs of consumers.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

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