I came across this problem yesterday while working on an article that was siloed in my mind as a long-term care insurance (LTCI) article.
But, really, I think this issue applies to almost anyone who sells any kind of product that LifeHealthPro.com would cover. And that is: “Just how accessible are the new homes being built today?”
Amanda Lehning and Annie Harmon included a section on housing accessibility in a report backed partly by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.
When Lehning and Harmon wrote the report, they were thinking about measures that a community could promote that could increase the odds that Jane Taxpayer will age comfortably in place, rather than having to move into a nursing home simply because, in her current home, she has to claim three flights of stairs to reach the bathroom.
The University of Michigan researchers apparently looked for national databases they could use to measure what percentage of the single-family homes in various U.S. communities were accessible, or “visitable.”
The visitability movement promotes the idea that a new single-family home should have at least one entrance that can be used without climbing up or down any steps; first-floor doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter; and a bathroom on the main floor.
The researchers discovered that they could find no good way to figure out what percentage of new homes in various communities were either visitable or accessible in other ways.
Of course, using a wheelchair or scooter is not the only form of disability, and visitability is not the only consideration for evaluating a house, even for people with disabilities.