Space for Accessible Living

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by Fanchea Kelly

We currently have shortfalls in available homes for people who need high levels of accessibility, and demand will grow with an aging population and more people living longer with a range of conditions. Yet at the same time there are major opportunities to correct this shortfall and lead the way in Europe.

Technology now enables many home adjustments – heating controls, opening blinds, managing your life from a home hub. This technology is even more important if you have a disability which restricts your mobility – and increasing numbers of Scots do have such restrictions, whether from birth, or as we get older.

The motivation for many customers to use technology in a way which supports their choice and control over their life is an inspiration for Blackwood. Even those of us who are digital immigrants are driven to master the use of devices and systems to complement our lifestyle, talking to friends and relatives across the world, sharing knowledge, and joining in social activities.

In Blackwood our mission is to invest in innovation which simplifies life for our existing customers and which changes lives for the future.

Our new Blackwood House, which is supported by our Design Guide for accessible living, will become a reality in Dundee in the near future. We’re delighted to work with housing, health and social care colleagues in Dundee, and with our prospective customers and their families, to personalise the final stages of the development and build confidence in using the technology.

So what will be different for the first tenants to benefit from these beautiful new homes?

First you will have your own home. This is a thrilling – possibly nerve-wracking – and essential component of independent living.  However that alone isn’t enough. Living independently, making your own choices, deciding what care and support you need, and exploring how to live life to the full won’t happen unless your home comes supplied with the new proprietary technology – CleverCogs. It will link you to your care staff and your housing officer. It will create a virtual circle of family and friends as well as connect you to your service providers. As well as knowing which staff are scheduled to visit, you’ll also have access to your favourite music, programmes, and interests. You’ll be able to video call your friends in the next house or in another country, so your horizons will expand.

Your house will have great circulation space so you don’t need to worry about your wheelchair or walking frame’s turning circle. Your kitchen will have rise and fall units to suit your personal requirements, and your bathroom is easily accessed from your bedroom with movable fittings to adapt to your changing needs.

Best of all you’ll live in a small community, with great views of the Tay. So on top of technology and design you’ll benefit from good old fashioned human interaction which we all need to thrive.

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