Simple tips and furnishing inspired by universal design make holiday gatherings safer and more welcoming for all guests, regardless of age and ability
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, UNITED STATES, December 3, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — Celebrating with friends and family is the hallmark of the holiday season. Yet, disability, aging, illness and injury can make visits difficult or even dangerous. Furnishings and tips inspired by universal design help ensure holiday gatherings are safe and welcoming for all loved ones.
Applying principles of universal design, an emerging class of designers is developing home products with aesthetic and functional qualities to serve all people. For more than two decades, award-winning architect and designer Jackie Millea has specialized in designing for all ages and abilities, and designing homes equipped for aging in place. She and her sister, Jennifer Noll, were inspired by years of tinkering with assistive devices to help their father, who was left quadriplegic after a stroke. The pair formed Millea Living to disrupt the medical furnishings industry by creating stylish, luxury furnishings with functional qualities to keep guests and caregivers safe.
“Connection with friends and family is fundamental to wellness,” said Millea, “yet it’s nearly impossible to find assistive devices that contribute to a warm, inviting environment. Despite major advances in technology and design, little improvement had been made to the same cold, clinical-looking devices available to our father three decades ago. We're determined that stylish furniture could also provide needed assistance, whether for natural physical declines due to aging, functional limitations of disability, or temporary setbacks caused by injury or illness. We blend engineering with artistry to create beautiful assistive furnishings that allow all people to live their lives with pride and purpose as they age or live with disability.”
The inaugural product from Millea Living, the Judith Bench, features a cashmere-feel, non-slip seat; waterfall seating for gentle transfer from a wheelchair; and non-slip rubber feet to ensure stability on any surface. Customizable and lightweight, the Judith Bench is designed to provide stylish seating throughout the home, for putting on shoes in the foyer and providing extra stability and in the shower. Millea is eager to expand the line to address additional needs. In fact, two products already are available for pre-order — the Judith Bench Wall Mount for shower and bath, and the Judith Bed Stability Rail.
The number of people who could benefit from assistive furnishings is expanding. Aging adults make up the fastest-growing population. Every 11 seconds a Baby Boomer turns 65 in the US — that’s 10,000 each day. Baby Boomers have changed many aspects of American life, from improving education, working conditions and wages to redesigning how we live by inspiring suburban life and the “family room.” They make up more than a quarter (28%) of the US population and command tremendous buying power, owning 80% of personal assets and generating 80% of the luxury travel industry. As they build, buy and remodel homes to support aging in place, they fuel a growing demand for luxury home products that promise confidence and comfort for years to come. Functional furnishings are also important tools to provide security and independence for many people living with disability. Injury, illness and pregnancy also create situations where added stability is welcome, if not essential. Rather than designing products solely to address unique needs of a specific audience, the concept of universal design encourages exploration of inclusive design solutions, pushing boundaries to enable use by as many people as possible, without compromising the integrity or quality of the product.
“Design plays a pivotal role in our wellness and the health of our relationships and communities,” adds Millea. “Allowing all people to live with dignity, autonomy and well-being contributes to a healthier society. By empowering greater connection within a safe environment, we all benefit from richer relationships and healthier communities.”
Even simple actions make a home environment safer and more broadly welcoming, suggests Millea, such as keeping floors free of clutter, removing obstructions to allow doors to open fully for wheelchair use, and ensuring good lighting. In winter months, keeping external entry areas free from ice is also an important consideration in cold-weather states.
To celebrate this season of family get-togethers and gift-giving, Millea Living is offering a 20% discount on the Judith Bench for the entire month of December. Learn more about the Judith bench at MilleaLiving.com, where you can also sign to be notified of new product introductions and news via the Millea Living newsletter. Follow @MilleaLiving on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Minneapolis-based Millea Living creates functional, beautiful furnishings for people of all ages and abilities, with respect, love and purpose. Millea Living offers premium, customizable finishes and coordinated product lines that add comfort, style and luxury to day-to-day life. Judith bench images available via link, or by request.
Source: EIN Presswire