There are a couple of tools that a designer can use to evaluate the needs of their clients. One of those tools is the Comprehensive Assessment and Solution Process for Aging Residents (CASPAR). CASPAR was designed for healthcare professionals to evaluate their clients ability to carry out routine activities in the home. This is also useful in determining the requirements of people who have disabilities.
This article is not your basic primer on selecting your dream home. Nor does it contain the list of items to ask your designer - these things can be found on any designers website or Google search. As important as those items are, what we are going to do here is drill-down into the design a little, bypass the fan-fare and talk about some specific concepts that will really make a difference in your life. Matching your house to your lifestyle begins with an exploration of your needs and wants.
Even though design capacity can virtually, be trained, the most effective jobs are the effect of a mix of skill and knowledge, therefore your choice in who to employ shouldnt be exclusively selected simply for their reduced rates or education. A home designer needs to be selected as due to their outstanding results of their labor.
For example, the needs of a child and his / her ability to live comfortably in the home are rarely addressed at the design stage. Its necessary to evaluate the childs current abilities and design an environment that works and grows with the child. Some easy adaptive design elements would include adjustable shelves and rods in the closet. As the child grows, the shelves and rods can be moved to better accommodate their reach. Appliances present a similar situation as it is necessary for the controls to be accessible. Front mounted controls on washing machines and dryers enable their use. Safety also comes into play. A child trying to use a microwave placed overhead is a recipe for disaster! Of course, the above example is very simple, but it illustrates the point that design needs to be done from the perspective of the individual and his / her ability to carry out daily routines in the home. This is why a good designer will perform an assessment of the client and specify the needed design modifications.
Fortunately, universal design is beginning to take root in modern home design. Ron Mace, Founder and Program Director of the Center for Universal Design, give us the following definition of UD The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities. Because the principles of universal design are inclusive for people with disabilities, the application of UD in home design is appropriate and addresses many of the needs of people who wish to age in place.