Newest Dream Home uses ‘VisitAble’ design

In 22 years, the Dream Home Lottery has raised over $6 million for Bluewater Health

Bluewater Health Foundation staff and members pose alongside Bluewater Health staff and local politicians at the next dream home in Camlachie. (Photo provided)

A new home isn’t the only new aspect of the upcoming Dream Home Lottery organized by the Bluewater Health Foundation.

The future Dream Home, located at 3866 Arie Court in Camlachie, will be the first Dream Home in Ontario to be “VisitAble.”

The VisitAble concept uses three key features: a step-less entryway, clear pathways throughout the home, and a fully accessible washroom.

The modifications allow for easier access to the main level for visitors of all ages and mobility. Those who rely on wheelchairs or walkers, or who have limited mobility due to age or other factors such as a broken leg, will be able to comfortably access the main level of the home– something that wasn’t always possible before.

“It was very important for us to ensure that all people in our community could access, visit, and be comfortable in our Dream Home, and up to this point, it wasn’t always possible,” said Kathy Alexander, the executive director of the Bluewater Health Foundation. “We’re proud to be able to lead the way in making Dream Homes more accessible for all of our guests.”

Alexander said discussions about a more accessible Dream Home started last year, but the design process was already underway and it was too late to make changes. The Foundation knew changes were needed after a Board member who uses a wheel chair was unable to host a Dream Home viewing because it was not accessible.

“We really believe this home will be equally as successful as previous years, if not more successful,” said Alexander.

“We don’t want to be turning anyone away from viewing our Dream Home,” she said.

VisitAble houses are environmentally, financially and socially sustainable, providing benefit to communities with older citizens by allowing people to live at home longer. No steps at the entrance can help reduce the number of falls by seniors, according to a Bluewater Health Foundation news release.

“More and more, as the population ages, we see the need for increased accessibility and supports for people to stay in their homes longer,” said Mike Lapaine the president and CEO of Bluewater Health. “This home’s design supports our desire for Sarnia-Lambton to have a robust care-at-home strategy where families can age and remain in their homes and community for longer.”

Nelson Peters, the president of Elite Homes, the company building the Dream Home, said the project is “paving the way in providing VisitAble, universally designed homes.”

Roger Gervais, an Ottawa-based certified aging in place specialist the Bluewater Health Foundation spoke with ahead of the project called the build a “commendable accomplishment” that highlights the Foundation’s innovation.

“It’s something I’ve been trying to accomplish in Ottawa for years with no successes,” said Gervais. “For it to be happening in Sarnia, shows the innovation.”

The VisitAble home is not a new concept. Gervais said neighbourhoods in Manitoba and Northern British Columbia have already been incorporating the design.

“I think there’s definitely opportunity for us to continue the momentum of having the VisitAble home and maybe one day we will have a fully accessible home,” said Alexander.

Tickets for the Dream Home Lottery go on sale October 2 and the Dream Home will be open for viewing starting October 7.

Alexander said the prize board is the biggest in the Foundation’s history and will include trips, cash, and of course, the Dream Home.

Full details about the 2018 Dream Home Lottery will be announced in September. The final draw happens at 9 a.m. on February 23, 2018.

An artistic rendering of the Dream Home. (Photo provided)
An artistic rendering of the Dream Home’s interior. (Photo provided)
Construction at the Dream Home is moving forward. (Photo provided)

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