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We’ve all heard the saying, “life is like a game of cards, you have to play the cards you’re dealt.” This parallel rings true on so many levels for me. It really hits home for Schulman Design and our clients experiencing limitations or changes in their physical mobility and cognitive abilities.

Throughout our lives we’re dealt various hands of cards, some of which we simply can’t control. Yes, we can create our destinies to some extent through strategy, hard work and passion, but it is often just sheer luck that takes us to the next stage. Sometimes the hands we’re dealt are exactly what we want, and we are on top of our game. Other times they cause us to fold and wait for the next round. Sometimes, individual cards work in isolation and other times they are integral to the whole hand.

SDI recently co-led and presented at the Aging in Place | Home Modification Conference in Calgary. Our centrepieces comprised oversized cards (about 15” by 10”) with massive graphics representing the card numbers and symbols. This is how a lot of people view accessible design. If your eyesight is impaired, why not give you BIG cards to play with? Or, if you’re bound to a wheelchair, then let’s build you modifications that are obvious and shout, “look at my disability, then see me!”

Schulman Design believes that accessibility modifications should be seamlessly incorporated to ensure the space functions well for users while looking and feeling beautiful and comfortable. If we go back to the playing card analogy, why not use regular sized cards with oversized print for a visual disability? Subtle on the outside, yet well designed on the inside.

Schulman Design’s accessible designs consider the whole person—their needs, tastes, personalities, lifestyles, and their families and friends. We want people to love the space they’re in, unconsciously knowing their homes foster well-being, independence and mobility. We want everyone to continue their favourite activities and even perform the day-to-day duties that we’d sometimes like to ignore. As designers, we are always striving for clever, seamless design that is invisibly integrated into the space.

The wonderful thing about playing cards is that there’s always another round. As we age or our physical abilities change, let’s take advantage of those challenges and opportunities. We can live remarkable lives if we allow our minds and our environments to make the most of the latest hand we’re holding.

Does your home reflect your current hand?