If you are building or remodeling your home, you might want to consider incorporating universal design into your plans.
Universal design is designing your home to accommodate everyone including the elderly, the disabled, young children and everyone in between. This idea embraces creating spaces that suit everyone and can be extremely beneficial if one plans on living in their home for many years to come. Although many do not want to think about aging and being less capable to do daily tasks, building a home gives you the opportunity to think ahead and consider adding features that you’ll come to appreciate later. These additions can be as dramatic or subtle as you’d like them to be. Ultimately, the end goal is to be able to maintain independence through all stages of life.
One of the biggest concerns when aging in a home, is eliminating the risk of injury or falls. According to a study from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, more than one out of four Americans, age 65 or older, fall each year and one in five falls cause serious injury. Solutions to avoid such occurrences include step-free entrances and pullout shelves to minimize bending. Additionally, modifications to a bathroom such as higher toilets, grab bars in showers and walk-in showers also help to avoid injuries.
Some universal design renovations benefit homeowners in ways they had not considered. Widening hallways and doors and adding movable islands in a kitchen make it easier for those with wheelchairs and walkers to get around. To aid with weakening vision, extra lighting can be placed in a home as well as color contrasting countertops and shelving so homeowners can clearly see where things begin and end. Subtle adjustments like replacing knobs with lever handles and putting a seat or niches in a shower, make signs of universal design practically undetectable.