Continue Reading Aging in Place & Ramp Camp" />

Aging in Place & Ramp Camp

by Louis on June 28, 2010

I am leading ramp camp this week. I work with a group of high school kids who get community service credit for building an access ramp. In all the years past I have done this the client needed the ramp. The students/kids/campers learned to use power tools and learned about someone different than themselves and had the experience of accomplishing something physical, real and exciting. It is a great program.

This year our client is not an individual, but a newly forming housing coop. None of the residents need a ramp. Why are we building them a ramp? Well there are a few reasons.

1. As they renovate their building they will need to meet the fair housing act requirements that a small percentage of the units are accessible.

2. These people want to be consistent in their attention to real and progressive housing opportunities. They want to go beyond the requirements. They want their community to welcome even folks they don’t know. Making their building accessible is an extension of the visitability concept, the idea of inclusion and civil rights in general.

Back up to civil rights. Most of us think in term of color. People marched fought and died to assure that everyone (read blacks and whites) are equally able to have jobs, use toilets, drinking fountains, buses, lunch counters, movies and so forth. It worked. Over a relatively short time these newly mingling people became acquaintances and sometimes friends- even visiting in each other’s homes.

Fast forward to the ADA. It is about access to jobs, drinking fountains, buses, lunch counters, movies and so forth. Sound familiar? But your new (and different, but no longer strange and ‘other’) friends cannot come home for dinner. Why? Because they cannot get in the door! They cannot move around and get into the bathroom. That is visitability. Making friends who are different welcome in your home.

Relate to Aging in Place? Sure.
A. We need to make sure our family and friends (grandma!) who are aging are welcome in our homes and the homes of every resident of the community.
B. We recognize the value of remaking grandma’s home and ours so she (we) can live there, come what may, for the future.
C. This adds $ value to our house, preparing it for the fastest growing market segment.

For our clients this ramp camp is about making those who are now different and strange welcome in their community as residents AND guests. I am proud to be part of it. I am also happy to be teaching my campers about tools, lumber, laughing as they struggle to pound some nails AND teach them to think about including ‘others’ during their summer vacation.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Valerie G June 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for the article on "Ramp Camp" great idea, I think I'll use it (with your permission) next time we get a scout troop wanting to do a project! That also reminded me of a question I had for you. (I was at the CAPS certification in Dover DE) and I need to know if there are any specifications for an entryway.We want to change the access to our home from a one step to a zero, and I'd like to replace the brick & stone pavers that lead up to the house with a non skid surface that we can slope to make sure rain doesn't pour in the door, What are your suggestions??? Thanks, Valerie


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: