Independent Design

Most general remodelers have received requests for projects to make life easier for elderly or disabled clients.

April 30, 2001

Most general remodelers have received requests for projects to make life easier for elderly or disabled clients. But Louis Tenenbaum has turned such jobs into the focus for his Potomoc, Md., company, Access Remodeling. In fact, he has created a new career for himself: an independent living strategist.

Tenenbaum works with homeowners to determine what barriers to independent living may exist in their homes and how to remove those barriers.

“I help people decide about home modifications and equipment that facilitate independent living,” Tenenbaum said. “This work takes into account the individual’s health, ability and mobility, caregiver availability and ability, the condition of the existing home, and the budget. This is much more than the average contractor knows about.”

In a workshop at the recent NAHB convention in Atlanta, Tenenbaum suggested that remodelers work closely with occupational therapists and other health-care and elder-care professionals to determine exactly what clients need to stay in their own homes. “When people are forced to move, they lose their independence. The people are not the problem; the house is the problem, and lost independence is the result.”

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