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Occupational Therapist Wins NAHB Remodelers Award

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The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) announces that Marnie Renda, MEd, OTR/L, CAPS, ECHM, has won the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Homes for Life award in the single space category for a bathroom remodeling project.

Problems with the small, 30-year-old bathroom included a narrow door opening preventing wheelchair entry, a low toilet seat that made use difficult, and a shower lip that created a tripping hazard, among other issues. Renda and her team transformed the space to meet a couple's needs for years to come-each was recovering from a stroke. Among the modifications were installation of a zero-threshold shower that includes seating, grab bars, a handheld shower with cuff, set temperature control, a trench drain, and careful positioning of shower controls; installation of a shorter-length, wall-mounted toilet to allow extra floor space for wheelchair and walker access; installation of wall-mounted grab bars; installation of one-touch faucets; and tilting mirrors to make personal hygiene tasks easier.

Each design element was carefully chosen to meet the clients' current and future needs, as well as the needs of future homeowners.

"This 48-inch-wide bathroom is a great example of how a bathroom can be designed to fit a budget, and look good while still meeting the accessibility needs of the homeowners," Renda said. "This bathroom meets the needs of one person who walks with a cane and another who uses a wheelchair. Occupational therapists specializing in home modifications are uniquely qualified to recommend design features and products to help people age in place successfully, even on a budget."

This is the second time that Renda and her team have won the award. In 2011, they won in the major space category for remodeling a master bedroom and bath for a woman with muscular dystrophy. The sixth-annual award recognizes excellence in remodeling work for aging in place and universal design.

Renda, an occupational therapist and independent living specialist in Cincinnati, helps older adults and people with disabilities figure out how they can live at home. Her practice includes providing accessible remodeling, selecting medical products, and utilizing funding sources and community service providers. Occupational therapists evaluate clients' needs and identify the options available to enable them to live productive and satisfying lives by continuing to do the things they want and need to do (occupations).

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