As I am writing this I am looking forward to Christmas, all the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of the season when we take time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and to take stock of the important things in life. By the time you read these words, however it will be the beginning of a New Year, the time when many of us think in terms of turning over a new leaf and setting goals and targets of things we would like to get done. If one of your goals in the New Year is to make some improvements in your housing situation, either by remodeling or moving into a different home, I have a great place to start.

On January 8-10 the Greater Roanoke Home and Garden Show will be at the Roanoke Civic Center. I will be teaching several seminars during this show on Aging in Place, Universal Design, and Home Modifications. I don’t know the exact times yet, but I have been told they will be on Friday afternoon. Please call me or check the show schedule for more information. I will cover aspects of housing that relates to the ability to safely and comfortably remain in our homes for as long as we choose to. I will be exploring some of the tools and technologies that are available to help seniors live safely and comfortably in their own homes. I will spend some time talking about Universal Design principles for building homes that don’t need adaptation and also how to adapt those homes that weren’t built with those principles.

Also early in the New Year, I will have finished my CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) certification and my Executive Certificate in Home Modifications from the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California. I have been learning a great deal as I have been pursuing this training to better prepare myself to serve the housing needs of the aging population of the Roanoke Valley and beyond. I know the word aging often has negative connotations, but really we’re all aging every day and hopefully getting wiser as well. My goal is to help make our homes more conducive to the aging process.

One of the projects I hope to launch in the New Year is to build some small clusters of Universal Design and accessible homes throughout the area. If you or someone you know would be interested in more information on these homes that would feature one floor living, fully accessible floor plans, and a sense of community, please call for more information. I also plan on doing lots of Housing Needs Assessments in the New Year and improving the lives of many people who are having difficulty getting around in their homes. One of the things that I have learned about Aging in Place is how few people are aware of their options. Through venues like this column and shows and events throughout the coming year, I intend to do my best to help raise awareness of the options we have to live out our lives in our own homes in the way we choose, in safety and comfort. Thank you all for taking the time to read this column in 2009, and please let me know if you have questions or topics you’d like to see covered in Housing Matters in 2010.You can reach me (540) 384-2064, by Email at or by mail at 428 W Riverside Dr Salem VA 24153.

I wish each and every one of you a Happy and Productive New Year.

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