Prooting Independence by Design

Over his long career as a product and architectural designer, Larry Weinstein, 80, has always been mindful of how design can promote or impede people’s ability to live safely and independently. Larry is a Korean War veteran, and has spent a good part of his life dealing with major spine and other health-related challenges. Living with disabilities himself has given Larry a real sensitivity to the connection between the physical environment and its impact on daily living independence.

During the course of four decades, Larry designed, built, or renovated hundreds of living and working environments, including hospital and health care facilities. Larry has been involved in many high-profile design and building projects, too. He was the interior space planning and design consultant for both Century City in Los Angeles and Embarcadero One in the Bay Area.

It is disappointing to Larry, however, that many design and building professionals are not well-versed in the principles of Universal and Accessible Design.  Many are not aware how certain design features can significantly improve people’s lives, and how without them, daily living tasks may become difficult, or dangerous.

To share the gifts of his wisdom and experience, in 2000 Larry founded Shared Solutions America, a non-profit dedicated to helping architects, designers, homeowners, and others learn how to create and maintain living environments that allow individuals to achieve maximum independence, energy efficiency, and safety.     For over a decade, he also served as AARP’s “Livable Homes Consultant” and attended numerous national conventions and expos sharing his expertise.

A resident of San Diego along with his wife, Mary, since the late 1990s, most of Larry’s time and energy is now dedicated to serving the local community.

Housing is one of Larry’s biggest passions and he believes there are viable answers to the many housing challenges people of all ages in our county are facing. Co-housing, shared housing, backyard cottages, and inter-generational living arrangements are among the solutions families and communities might explore and develop.

Larry worked with Aging & Independence Services to help prepare for the successful Aging Summit on June 15, 2016. This year’s summit focused on aging well in community and is one of many activities in support of the County’s quest to become a designated “Age-Friendly Community.”

One of the most meaningful elements of the Summit was the opportunity for residents to get involved in planning and community building activities after the event.

Larry hopes that the Summit was an inspiring experience that served to “bring residents closer together and help people realize they have a voice.” He firmly believes that “change happens by people in numbers and we need their voices to be heard.”