Adaptive Housing with Owen Barclay

In this segment, Owen Barclay, a contractor and Certified Aging in Place Specialist, walks us through the benefits of Adaptive Housing. Traditional construction methods mean that the average home has been built with barriers to people with physical limitations including seniors and people who have suffered a catastrophic injury. Adaptive Housing is about opening up spaces and making them accessible to everyone, giving them independence; this is called Universal Design.

What is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist?

A Certified Aging in Place Specialist is someone who is accredited by the National Association of Home Builders. This can be anyone in the field from a nurse, architect, general contractor, or occupational therapists who come together with a common set of consistent goals and deliverables to help people live longer, safer and more comfortably in their own homes.

How does Adaptive Housing work?

When working on a home renovation, Owen often works with a team that consists of any number of people concerned for the care and well being of the individual who is facing mobility challenges. They take a look at individuals’ specific needs and customize the home environment to allow for easy navigation and independence.

What are common adaptations to homes?

Every client and situation is unique. Common adaptations address basic essential needs that are often overlooked by those untrained in the field such as dressing, eating, moving through the home, hygiene and toileting.

Bathrooms are the most common place for these renovations. By adapting to suit the individual’s specific needs, greater independence is achieved. Some examples are lowered grab bars for shorter individuals, higher toilets for aging people, non-slip and heated floors, accessible plugs, and extended door widths to allow for walkers and wheelchairs.

Renovations are expensive. What happens if you have a limited budget?

Individuals who need to adapt their living spaces have varied financial circumstances. Some people wish to retire in their home, while others have physical limitations as a result of an injury. Owen and the team can prioritize needs to get most things done within a variety of budgets.

Owen reviews some of the financing options available through BC Housing, WorkSafeBC, Veterans Affairs, extended health plans, ICBC, etc. He notes that you should always confirm in writing that the funding is available for your situation before you agree to have any work done on your home.

What role does a lawyer play?

A lawyer often plays a role if the source of money for adaptive housing is going to be coming from a payout due to an accident. Typically, if you have a personal injury claim with ICBC, a lawyer will be involved. A lawyer can also help with drafting or reviewing renovation contracts, although this is likely to be a lawyer versed in construction law and not the personal injury lawyer representing you in your ICBC claim. Every contract should be in writing and include a detail description of the work, the cost, and the timeline. This helps to protect everyone involved.

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