What's a livable home as you age in place? That's the question the City of Centennial and the Arapahoe Libaries District set out to help residents answer with the Interaction Lab at Southglenn …
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What's a livable home as you age in place?
That's the question the City of Centennial and the Arapahoe Libaries District set out to help residents answer with the Interaction Lab at Southglenn Library, an interactive room that displays design strategies and technology to make homes accommodating for a senior or those with different ability levels.
The library district looks for ways to highlight technology that's not always available to everyone, said Oli Sanidas, executive director for Arapahoe Libaries.
“We're trying to democratize information,” Sanidas said, “through experiences as well.”
The interactive room offers a drawing board that currently depicts what an accessible kitchen looks like: lowered countertops that allow for seated meal preparation, D-shaped handles for easier access, an under-the-counter microwave drawer and lighting under the cabinets for more visibility.
It's all part of showcasing what Sanidas explains is universal design, a concept that emphasizes environments that are accessible to everyone, no matter their age or ability. It's geared especially toward seniors who want to age in place — being able to live in their own homes and maintain independence.
The lab, expected to be a fixture for at least a year, comes through a partnership between the city; the library district; Arrow Electronics, an engineering and technology company; Colorado State University; and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, a nonprofit that works to improve the regional economy.
Patrons can have hands-on — or hands-free — experiences with “smart” appliances like the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo, devices that can turn the lights off, play music, give the weather forecast and more with voice control. The Facebook Portal, also on display, makes video calls that are voice controlled, too. The lab even has a robot: a videoconference tool that moves around the room so a person can see what a caller is looking at during conversation.
“It could be for parents who work late,” or a senior showing a medical caregiver around a house, Sanidas said.
The lab may offer other accessible displays, such as a bedroom, in the future.
“It is important to the city to provide resources and information to residents so they can remain in their homes as long as they wish,” said Stephanie Piko, Centennial mayor, in a news release. “The Interaction Lab will continue to evolve as partners work together with patrons to understand the most desired smart-home features and universal design concepts to include.”
Southglenn Library sits at 6972 S. Vine St. at The Streets at SouthGlenn shopping center. For more information, visit centennialco.gov/lifelonghomes or call 303-542-7279.
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