The SAMI Program

Safe and Accessible Modifications for Independence  

SAMI is a long term initiative to increase access to high quality home access modifications. It’s current area of focus is western North Carolina.


In just a few years, one in five residents of Buncombe County will be age 65 or older and in fewer than twenty years (by 2035) projections suggest this ratio will be closer to one in four. According to AARP almost 90% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their home as they age. There will be a big increase over the next 15 years in households requesting home renovations to preserve independence and safety. Agency staff, professionals, health care, and product distributors and retailers will all see an increase in demands for home safety and independence solutions.

To respond to these realities, the Universal Design Institute conducted a series of trainings in Buncombe County in 2019 – 2020 to improve the knowledge and skills of home access modification delivery practitioners and those in related jobs.  We have continued the Safe and Accessible Modifications for Independence Training (SAMI) program in 2020-2021 on a regional basis with support from AdventHealth by


1.Focusing on health care students and professionals via partnerships with MAHEC, Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College and Western Carolina University, and


2.Focusing on consumers through local events and webinars and for older patients of Advent Health.



Richard Duncan is the primary instructor for these events. We have also been able to enlist the knowledge of key experts as co-presenters: Ali Climo, the Buncombe County Aging Plan Coordinator; Linda Giltz, Community Planner; Jason Ray, from Simply Home; Robert Krollman, from Sky Heart Consulting, and Robert Gurinowitsch, from Best Bath.

Our generous sponsors and partners

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The Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design. The Institute's work manifests the belief that all new environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.


The Institute's sister initiative, Better Living Design is changing the way homes and home products are designed, built and remodeled to better meet the needs of everyone at every life stage. 

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© 2019 RL Mace Universal Design Institute. All rights reserved.