Middletown Senior Housing

Middletown, CT USA

Middletown HousingThe 1.3 ac land was donated by the city of Middletown, and it sits at the northeast corner of Randolph Road and South Main Street, also known as Route 17, a north-south thoroughfare running through downtown Middletown.

Quisenberry/Arcari Architects L.L.C. of Farmington, CT and Dickinson + Partners together worked with the city of Middletown’s stakeholders to create a housing facility that is sensitive to the security and comfort needs of the deaf and the blind.

While grab bars in bathrooms, wide doorways and turnaround space for wheelchairs are common in public places and complexes for the elderly, people with sensory disabilities require more — something so simple as not placing the apartment door facing a window, for example. When the occupant answers the door, he or she is backlighted by the window and the visitor may have trouble seeing him or her. When you are backlit, it is difficult to distinguish lip movement or hand signing.

The facility’s special features include a 14-by-23-foot laundry room attached to two bathrooms and a 17-by-26-foot common room where tenants can read, relax and socialize.

Keith Vinci, an official at the Commission for the Deaf in Hartford, noted that ”amenities at Monarca Place can be found in bits and pieces elsewhere, but the combination of all of them, all updated and in one place at one time, is pretty revolutionary.”

These features include a high-tech system of different colored strobe lights to alert deaf people in their apartments to a fire alarm, the doorbell, the communication system in the lobby or the telephone. Vibration added to bells, alarms and pager tones increases their impact. Visitors will signal their arrival on a keyboard in the lobby; the tenant has a corresponding touch pad and can inquire about the guest. The visitor then uses the teletypewriter or the closed circuit TV system to identify himself or herself, and the tenant sends a message back, inviting the visitor to the apartment, or not.