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I would like to add a few more thoughts to this discussion. I have been dealing with the ADA before and since it was passed into law. As a parent of a 48 daughter that has had a variety of special needs over the years as well as my professional involvement with reahab programs, Oregon Special Olympics, the Multnomah Athletic Club and senior retirement communities I have a very wide range of experiences and exposure to the Act.
I have watched the development of many environments that were built to ADA standards-or at least the architects and designers thought they were built to ADA standards. I have also watched owners of retaurants and other spaces which serve the public keep the square footage of their businesses just below the square footage requirements that would require compliance.
What stands out the most to me in the many years I have worked with the regulations is that they are not necessarily senior friendly. The ADA was really designed for handicapable younger adults, not older adults with a variety of age-related vision, hearing. mobility and cognitive impairments. If we limited the design in Touchmark communities to only meeting ADA requirements we would have settings where most older adults would not have the qualtiy of life we (Touchmark) try to provide.
At some juncture I would like to see a group of thoughtful, well trained professionals and the primary stakeholders-older adults with sensory and mobility limitations-draw up a list of what would make their lives work better to support their independence and well-being over the lifespan. Their ability to stay involved in the work force, the volunteer community, their churches and neighborhoods is important to all of us-and to them.
Surely with the demographics in the USA as well as most of our global partners the time to expand the possibilites for a successful aging process supported by senior-friendly design has come.
posted 2 years, 10 months ago
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