Universal Design for Homeowners of All Ages and Abilities

From on January 23, 2008 in General Remodel

More and more attention is being given to universal design. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing segments in the residential remodeling industry today. Universal design builds enjoyment and accessibility into the home for people of all ages and abilities. This includes incorporating modifications for the aging-in-place. As millions of baby boomers near retirement age, the home remodeling industry must respond to growing demands for increased convenience and comfort at home. After all, for newly anointed empty nesters and young adults alike, the home is where much of our lives unfold. According to the American Institute of Architects, homeowners are looking for more recreational opportunities integrated into development and for greater, safer access to public transportation. Homeowners are also choosing to stay put in their homes, remodeling toward greater comfort as opposed to moving. Caps logoThis coincides with the National Association of Home Builders’ description of what the aging-in-place seek: the ability to remain safe, independent, and comfortable at home, and the ability to enjoy daily rituals and life-enriching events with the reassurance of remaining in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years. Universal showerThere are numerous ways that universal design for the aging-in-place works to make the home comfortable and safe for older residents. In the bathroom, for instance, grab bars, hand rails, and shower seats can be placed within shower enclosures. Bathtubs, such as those designed by Best Bath Systems, can include entry doors for easy access. Access, in fact, is critical to accommodating homeowners and residents of different abilities, heights, and ages. In the kitchen, this can be done with lower workstations that provide access to a chair, countertops with adjustable heights, and easy-to-reach storage provided by things such as Lazy Susans or drawers with extendable gliders. Other universal design methods include wide open spaces throughout the home, wide doorways, and lowered light switches for easy navigation. Having these elements in place does not equate to a compromise in style. Take windows, for instance. Stylish bay windows can still be installed throughout the front room, but with lower sills. Links: