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Technology and Disability communicates knowledge about the field of assistive technology devices and services, within the context of the lives of end users - persons with disabilities and their family members. While the topics are technical in nature, the articles are written for broad comprehension despite the reader's education or training.
Technology and Disability's contents cover research and development efforts, education and training programs, service and policy activities and consumer experiences.
The term Technology refers to assistive devices and services.
- The term Disability refers to both permanent and temporary functional limitations experienced by people of any age within any circumstance.
- The term and underscores the editorial commitment to seek for articles which see technology linked to disability as a means to support or compensate the person in daily functioning.
The Editor also attempts to link the themes of technology and disability through the selection of appropriate basic and applied research papers, review articles, case studies, programme descriptions, letters to the Editor and commentaries. Suggestions for thematic issues and proposed manuscripts are welcomed.
Abstract: The growing number of older adults and younger persons with disabilities who would benefit from home modifications have not yet been matched by a delivery system capable of responding to their needs. The delivery system for home modifications is a patchwork of fragmented and uncoordinated services with significant gaps in types of services available and geographic coverage. These problems are compounded by factors that limit both the demand for and supply of home modification services. This article discusses the incidence and need for home modifications; what is known about service delivery; barriers to developing an effective system; promising recent developments;…and recommendations for next steps.
Keywords: Home modifications, Service delivery, Adaptations, Long-term care, Housing
Abstract: On 24 April 1996, a Special Interest Forum (SIF) was held in Washington DC, on the topic of ‘Home Modifications and the Fair Housing Law’. Its purpose was to promote innovation in the design of home modifications and to examine related aspects of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. The Amendments move toward making housing more accessible and usable by a diverse population, including people with disabilities. This report captures the main points raised by the presenters and elaborates on many of the issues. The SIF was organized by the Association of Safe and Accessible Products (ASAP). Funding was…provided by the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA Center), State University of New York at Buffalo, as part of a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development entitled ‘Fair Housing Means Universal Design’.
Keywords: Home modifications, Universal design, Fair housing, Accessibility, Home improvement
Abstract: There is an increasing recognition of the growth in the need for and benefits of, home modifications. At the same time there is a lack of awareness of resources. There are also threats to many existing funding and financing sources. The public has limited familiarity of the private or public resources for home modification projects that are available to households of all income levels: the most frequently asked question from callers to the Center for Universal Design's national information services relates to paying for home modifications. As with almost all affordable housing initiatives, programs directed at home modifications for people…with low incomes have insufficient funds to meet their needs. Waiting lists are common while many people receive no assistance. Federal initiatives that currently provide millions of dollars of support for home modifications for low and moderate income households are in danger of elimination or reduced funding. This will create greater competition for the uses of the remaining funds and new demands on funding from within states. Another factor in under-utilization of home modifications is that manufacturers and the housing industry do not sense great demand in the private sector. Too few households see home modifications as viable remodeling options. Remodelers have not developed skills and experience and manufacturers and retailers do not emphasize product development, design or marketing. This article reviews funding, financing, and other resources for home modifications, outlines the current constraints and future limitations to these resources, and suggests actions to increase the availability of home modifications.
Keywords: Home modification, Funding, Financing, Disability, Seniors
Abstract: Better, safer and easier-to-use home environments are important in an aging society. Unfortunately, only a small proportion of people who need more accessible living environments modify or adapt their homes. There are a number of reasons improved living environments have not ‘caught on’. While there are many excellent educational programs and materials for educating consumers, the approaches have targeted the consumer as the problem. In addition, suggested modifications have often been inconsistent with consumer preferences. This article suggests that a great deal of knowledge exists about how to improve living environments; the next step is how to make these improvements…part of the mainstream consumer marketplace.
Keywords: Home modification, Accessibility, Disabilities, Building and remodeling, Limitations
Abstract: Recent advances in medicine, rehabilitation and public health have increased life expectancy and caused the prevalence of disability to rise. These trends have resulted in a convergence between the aging and disability populations; more older adults are experiencing onset of disability in later life and more persons with life-long disability are living into old age. Environmental interventions, including assistive technology (AT) and home modification (HM), are an important strategy for maintaining independence, productivity and community participation. However, older adults remain underserved in AT and HM. This article suggests that the lingering effects of ‘ageism’ and ‘structural lag’ in aging and…disability policies and programs limit the access of older adults with disability to environmental interventions. Major policies influencing access to environmental interventions by older adults with disability and recent trends in AT/HM research, policy and practice are described. Strategies for improving the access of older adults to AT/HM services are suggested.
Keywords: Assistive technology, Home modifications, Aging, Disability policy
Abstract: Our society's changing demographics include the aging of our population and a greater number of persons with disabling conditions. As a result, many people experience obstacles in their homes that are inconvenient, limiting and dangerous. They are beginning to realize that their homes can better support their needs through home modifications; that they can remain in their homes and neighborhoods rather than move to more institutional settings. The ability to meet this growing need for home modifications is hampered by lack of information, limited funding and inadequate services. Because these barriers are interlinked, a complex scenario evolves that negatively affects…the availability of home modifications. A Blueprint for Action is the print product of the second national conference on home modifications which was convened to address these barriers. ‘A Blueprint for Action: The Second National Working Conference on Home Modifications Policy’, held in April, 1996 in Washington, DC was attended by over 60 of the nation's leading experts in disability, aging, housing finance, remodeling, design and construction, community development and long-term care. Planned by the National Home Modifications Action Coalition, this conference provided the opportunity to develop home modification agendas at community, state and national levels. The publication reflects the four key action areas of the conference – Consumer Knowledge, Funding, Service Delivery and Systems Change. A Blueprint for Action was developed from the background papers written on the four themes, discussions and working groups at this second conference. Portions of the papers are excerpted. This report includes a discussion of barriers and recommendations for national, state and community change. Its use is intended to increase the availability and affordability of home modifications for individuals of all ages. A Blueprint for Action reflects the diverse perspectives and approaches of the many experts who have contributed to the conference and the papers. Most importantly, A Blueprint for Action is an action plan for promoting home modifications through coalition building and sustained and coordinated activities.
Keywords: Disability, Aging, Home modifications, Accessibility, Aging-in-place
Abstract: This article provides an overview of several international housing issues facing societies with a high proportion of older persons. Using examples from a number of countries, the article discusses the strains placed on the quantity and type of housing available for older persons; the trend toward independent living; the role of government in housing policy; and the role of home modification, universal design and assistive technology in enabling older persons to live in the community.