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A Study of Innovative Assistive Devices for Aging in Place


Local Data for Local Action

Volume 26 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

A Study of Innovative Assistive Devices for Aging in Place

John B. Peavey
Pranav Phatak
Home Innovation Research Labs

Ed Steinfeld
University of Buffalo

Danise Levine
Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of this article.

Home Innovation Research Labs and the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA) partnered to study innovative, cost-effective assistive devices that improve accessibility in townhomes and row houses without requiring major renovations. Study participants include seniors, persons with disabilities, caregivers, and design professionals specializing in accessibility.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) identified townhomes and row houses as needing innovative solutions to accommodate the growing population experiencing physical, mental, or sensory challenges. Several programs exist that provide retrofits to existing homes, but in many cases, the cost of renovating can be prohibitive due to narrow hallways, multilevel stairs, and the lack of bedrooms and full bathrooms on the first floor.

This study addresses three key issues: (1) identifying home improvements needed to make these homes more accessible for individuals with mobility-related limitations; (2) evaluating innovative assistive devices; and (3) determining the availability and cost of such devices.

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