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Charlottesville Real Estate & Houses For Sale
 
Univeral Design 
 
 
 
Universal Design - For Utilization In Home Design and Remodelings 
  
Steve King is interviewed for information regarding his expertise in Universal Design by Francesca Toscani for her article Universal Design - "Any-Body, Any-Ability" which was published in the CAAR Real Estate Weekly – Vol. 20, No. 23   June 9 – June 15, 2011.  So please check this article since it provides some very good information on Universal Design and Charlottesville, VA area progress into this area of building design.
 
 
Universal design refers to various ideas to incorporate into buildings, products and environments that provide accessibilty to all people, with or without disabilities.  If you have been injured with a broken leg, foot, knee or arm, you have probably already experienced the unfriendly design of many of our residential facilities, apartments, condos, town-houses or detached residential homes that we reside.  Universal Design incorporates aspects of Americas Disability Act or AD compliant designs but is expanded for flexibility in many cases for ease of use for all people regardless of being disabled or not.   Architect Ronald L. Mace initiated the term "Universal Design" of the design concepts useable for all people and of all ages. (1)
 
As we progress into a higher age population group with increasing numbers of the retired, we have unfortunately failed in the ability for the most part, to provide a habital home for the aging to remain through their declining years.  Simply because our homes are not adequate in design features to allow them to remain.  Whether we may live independently or with some assistance, the current homes are not adequate, for the most part, to allow for the ease of caring for oneself or with some assistance when we may become disabled.  Facilities are limited and expensive for assisted living of the aging population.  You can expect to pay at least from $ 5,000 tp $ 7,000, if you can find available vacancy for housing and limited care.  So with this issue alone, incorporating Universal Design in at least a portion of your home is feasible from just not an economical view but for the health care of your entire family.  Retro-fitting existing space and/or completing an unfinished basement space may provide you the opportunity to incorporate Universal Design into your future expansion plans.  If you are buying a new home, then you should also consider the future useablilty of your home, just not for current, but for the future and that of the ability to provide alternatives to you and your parents for the inevitable.  You cannot afford to not consider Universal Design.
 
*  To budget for health insurance, a couple should at least plan to expect $,1500 or more, depending on whether you can obtain some group policy at 100% of payment.
 
*  Deductibles and other health prescription and over- the- counter medications, etc. can depend on many issues regarding your health and preventative issues.
 
*  To obtain assisted living for the elderly or others that for health reasons require assisted living facilities, you will be requiring $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 a month out of your budget for just one of the parents, if you can find a facility with room and if you can afford such prices.
 
*  Upkeep of their main residence with the other spouse, real estate taxes, personal properrty taxes, utilities, maintenance of lawn and house and appliances.
 
*  Upkeep of one vehicle for a couple, even if they do not use it or do not often use it, most parents will desire the ownership of one to allow another to drive them to shopping and other errands.  Vehicles are like any mode of transportation over the decades, it is a form of independence and security in order to flee or get help.  Just one item that is available for reduction in expenses with a close family unit.
 
*  Escalating inflation and uncertanity of medicare, health care for the aging population and fear of the inability to cope with aging parents, while the economy has turned unemployment of just one in the family as a crisis instead of a problem. 
 
Generally, families are not equipped to deal with the future that is looming ahead of them for themselves or for their children.  Simply put, we have not been ahead of the looming problems that face this country and working towards ways to elimate or at least alleviate some of the severe hardships that is being placed on our population.  It is not only a health issue, it is an emotional  and economic issue for our parents, for the children and the entire family network.  It is something that no one or any family member should have to go through, especially when so many have planned and worked so very hard not to be a aburden on their children and actually worked very hard to provide something for their heirs. 
 
It is therefore incumbent on families to start discussing these issues along with other items regarding wills, titles, and means of care for future health care and budget issues of the family as a whole and how to prepare for parents or others within the family in case of health care infirmity issues that can arise in families.
 
One step that can provide ease of care and also allow for ease of care for limited in-home care providers, can be incorporated into your current existing home in many cases with retro-fitted products and designs into your home or remodeling project.  Before you remodel a basement, etc., first consider UNIVERSAL DESIGN...  it can save you money in the long run and peace of mind that you have a facility that is also useable for aging parents that can provide them some comfort and emotional support within the entire family. 
 
Many builders and architects and engineers have incorporated in their designs with a consideration of the future in many areas regarding energy, environment, health and flexibility with Universal Design concepts for residential living.
 
One such entity is the UVA ecoMOD Project that is headed by John Quale and Paxton Marshall, one of their projects was the Smith-Reaves Historical House in Charlottesville, VA in 2007.  The list of solar, high efficiency applicances, environmental green roofs, along with Universal Design concepts into their design along with their detached studio apartment/guest quarters is wheelchair compliant and offers very flexible use for the families that will be our new urban life.  One that is flexible and allows for bring parents back home to be able to have some independent living while being able to monitor and keep them close to you, or in the event of an older child becoming unemployed and needing quarters to return to and still be part of the family but with some privacy.  Please go to their website for more information on their innovative ecoMod designs at  UVA ecoMOD Project 
 
You may also like to read the information provided on Livable for a a Life Time 
 
Go to this website for some information on the LEAP local energy alliance program 
 
Go to the U. S. Green Council's website for information on LEED.
 
 
 
(1)  Universal Design - information at Wikipedia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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