Architecture/Home Modification

These websites provide basic information about building and adapting the home, work, and community environments for people with disabilities. Lots of additional information about these subjects can be found under universal design. For information about finding accessible housing and fair housing laws, check the housing section.

Center for Universal Design – Housing
This section of the Center’s website includes information about home modifications and accessible and universal design features in homes and examples of universal homes in new construction.

Checklist for Environmental Safety
An American Foundation for the Blind fact sheet on creating safe environments for older people with visual impairments.

Concrete Change
In addition to the first accessible gingerbread house (!), this site focuses on the basics of “working together for basic access in ALL homes” (or, as the authors put it, how to “get in and pee”). Included are basic “how tos” for creating “visitable homes,” six ways to accomplish a zero-step entrance, cost estimates for incorporating a variety of features into new homes, a summary of laws that impact home construction around the world, and more.

Creating Accessible Homes
A handy checklist from Kansas State University’s extension program, in PDF format only.

The Do-Able Renewable Home
Produced by the American Association of Retired Persons, this practical booklet provides information you’ll need to make your home more livable if you or others who live with you develop limitations in movement, strength, dexterity, eyesight, or hearing.

Design Linc – Accessibility Design & Resources
An interior design firm offers tips for designing accessible homes, product listings, organizations and related links.

Easy Access Housing
An overview of accessible housing, a checklist, and design awards from the Easter Seals Society.

Guide to Accessible Housing
This ABLEDATA Consumer Guide examines what accessible housing is, discusses the
types of products available to achieve accessibility, and offers resources to assist in this endeavor.

Home Modification and Repair
This short fact sheet from the Administration on Aging provides lists of typical problems and solutions, sources of financial assistance, information for renters, etc.

IDEA Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access
IDEA is a university-based program “dedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities, throughout their life spans.” Most of this academically oriented site provides information about the Center’s programs and resources, but the nifty “bright ideas” section offers links to companies that make special products for kitchens, bathrooms, ramps and lifts, grab bars, and other home products.

Making Homes Accessible: Assistive Technology and Home Modifications
This concise guide from the RESNA Technical Assistance Project is packed with valuable information and links to resources about assistive technology and home modifications. Topics covered include definitions; laws and guidelines; initiatives from the Assistive Technology Act grantees; advocacy, financing, modification, and research resources; accreditations; online courses; and a bibliography.

National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification
Focusing on “service programs and housing settings that target semi-independent elderly who need assistance with daily activities” and “converting or adapting the environment to make tasks easier, reduce accidents, and support independent living,” this Center’s website is packed with resources on home adaptations and design. Despite the oddly-named and sometimes duplicative sections (the “Toolbox” turns out to be articles and advice for builders and remodelers, and the “Gateway” features “resources for gatekeepers and remodelers”), this site offers dozens of useful materials. Some are linked to articles in the Center’s online library (unfortunately, many of these are excerpts from materials that must be purchased), while others link to external websites. The “National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Programs” appears to be a work-in-progress that is worth checking for local resources.

Universal Design: Home Modification
This room-by-room AARP guide provides ideas for increasing “the usability of the home by people of all ages, sizes, and abilities and enhance the ability of all residents to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.”

Related Subjects
Assistive Technology
Low Tech Devices
Universal Design
Resources in your state