Title page for ETD etd-07122005-123212

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Steeves, Jeannette Frost
Author's Email Address asteeves@vt.edu
URN etd-07122005-123212
Title Examination of Universal Design in Kitchens and Bathrooms of the Housing and Urban Development Demonstration Program Elderly Cottage Housing Opportunity
Degree PhD
Department Housing, Interior Design, and Resource Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Beamish, Julia O. Committee Chair
  • Supportive Housing
  • Aging
  • Housing
  • Senior Housing
  • Elderly
  • Assisted
  • Informal Care
Date of Defense 2005-05-05
Availability unrestricted
Appropriate housing for the aging American population is a timely topic of research in both housing and gerontology. Universal design is an innovation in housing design that is gaining interest from both industries.

This research examines the effectiveness of universal design features that have been identified by experts in the field of aging, housing, and universal design as important to resident and caregiver participants of the ECHO demonstration housing program.

A national survey was conducted that included all available current residents of the HUD ECHO houses and their caregivers. The relationships between age, effectiveness of universal design features, health and dependency were investigated. Quantitative results include some confounding relationships, and plausible explanations.

A qualitative analysis, based on on-site and telephone interviews, and tape recordings of those interviews with residents and their caregivers, as well as architectural drawings, observation, and photographs of the ECHO houses provided additional details. The qualitative approach indicated that many of the universal design features recommended by the experts consulted satisfactorily met the needs of residents and/or their caregivers. It also revealed, however that some features were not considered important by residents and caregivers, some were not reported as present (when they were documented by the researcher as present), and at least one HUD-specified universal design feature was not provided by ECHO houses.

Another aspect of the qualitative perspective addressed the health of the residents. Health characteristics are presented in the context of their effect on dependency. Phase II dependency task information was compared to that reported in phase I, and improvement and decline was noted.

Conclusions, and Implications that elaborate on findings, and future research is recommended for taking this research to the next level.

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