EtMM: “ADA & Accessibility in homes” w/ Marcela Abadi Rhoads

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Interview: w/ Mrs. Marcela Abadi Rhoads – July 3rd, 2012  

Listen now:

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About Marcela Abadi Rhoads – Owner of “Abadi Accessibility”, & Author of “The ADA Companion Guide”

Initially, Marcela’s main task she was being hired for in her own business in Texas, was “Commercial Drawings Review” for Architects, Contractors, and building owners to comply with Texas architecture laws for accessibility.  Then suddenly (and just recently – how ironic, it coincides with 10,000 people per DAY turning 65 years old starting January, 2011) she’s finding the need to expand her services to respond to the increasing requests for residential review.  I think we’re on to something here, and we had a great conversation about it in our interview.

Although her main previous work was most focused on commercial buildings, we found ourselves speaking on the future of this topic, and how it’s going to also shift to this residential realm of architecture & construction, as the Silver Tsunami is swelling offshore and beginning to be visible from the shores of our United States, and in response to the fact that almost ALL of our current homes are BROKEN for the changes that are ahead in our population.

The Milken Institute (as shared with me by Mr. Louis Tenenbaum in a blog of his) speaks to the opportunities that are being created with this huge change in the population in the
decades ahead, and the paradigm shift that is going to be required to respond to a “new market” in the Older Americans group, the “Mature Market” as they’re being called.

Universal Design is something that works better for EVERYONE.  Good design disappears, so it’s not the issue people think it is wherein we are trying to “institutionalize” the home design.  89% of those polled (AARP) would like to stay at home regardless of change in mental or physical ability.  We (people like Marcela Abadi Rhoads and Aaron D. Murphy) can help you do that. The design is a “big picture” solution process.  It’s more than just a grab bar in your shower… much much more.

There are so many pieces to the puzzle, both in design and in your “solution team”, and it’s going to be a customized solution for each client based on their own wants and needs.  A full SYSTEMS solutions would include your family, your physical or occupational therapist, your architect, your contractor, just to name a few.  Design solutions would include your floor plan layout, maybe an addition to your home for your parents or your caregiver, thinking about wider doors and hallways, better movement throughout the home, possibly a residential elevator, lighting, outlet and switch heights, flexible fixture style (like showers, tubs, faucets, etc.) and equipment placement for ease-of-use by both the client and the caregiver (and/or family too), technology and monitoring services – it’s all a part of the solution in making your “forever home” a reality.  MUCH MORE than just a grab bar we are talking about here…

I get asked many times about “resale value” with Universal Design home modifications.

Let me ask you this?  Do you think that more thoughtful and customized design for ease-of-use by everyone that may use or enter your home (well beyond the “lowest cost & quickest construction” solution of the “spec home” builder that likely built your home the first time) would be detrimental to the next buyer?  Would a shower that is easy for everyone to use, a kitchen that works for everyone better, one entry to your home that anyone could access, be a problem for selling your home to the next person that’s looking at it?  NO.  It’s a better solution for all involved, both currently and in the future.  This is an uphill discussion and part of the “paradigm shift” we are educating about, and a message that the builders and the jurisdictions in our country need to hear and listen to.  Unfortunately, much as was the case with pollution in our country, it takes legislation (“laws”) to get people to do the right thing.  Most of us out there sharing this message wish this wasn’t the case, but it tends to be for the majority of the public population.  We need to explain to the builder/developer community that this is not only the RIGHT thing to do, but also that when planned for pro-actively, it does NOT cost more to make a percentage of our homes “suited for inclusion by all”, and in the next 20+ years it would be BENEFICIAL to them if they are wanting to appeal to ALL home buyers in the decades ahead.

I look forward to working with Marcela to continue to get the message out, EMPOWERING people to keep control over their own lives, including their housing wants and needs.  We are also hereby able to create business opportunities for ourselves to make a living with PURPOSE, by bringing VALUE to our clients, and at the same time making a difference in our world, for our families and our communities!  This is an exciting time, and we are excited to be a part of it!


Listen now:

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WEB:    Twitter: @Abadi_Access 

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