aging in place & universal design

Universal Design means that the room meets or exceeds all of the needs and wishes of the client today and will not limit their use of the space in the future should they ever have special needs due to injury or illness. It succeeds when the requirements for accessibility become attributes in design and function.

The very best builders are educated, and use these principles today. The positive impact on a home is so profound that at some point in the future most of the principals will probably become standard.

Consider a few examples of accessibility. You may agree that not only do they allow accessibility, they enhance the design.

  • Wider hallways and open space allow areas to "share" space and create a roomier feel.
  • Windows and light fixtures are positioned to provide abundant light without glare.
  • Doors are nice and wide.
  • Euro style showers feature large open area with curb-less entry.
  • Non-slip Surfaces are safer and provide less glare.
  • Anti scald shower valve and adjustable height shower head.
  • Towel bars are rated grab bars.
  • “Comfort” height toilet.

Add a couple details like installing backing in walls for future grab bars, lever handled doors and fixtures, and open vanities and you have a room, or a house, that will never restrict your ability to use it.

A Universal Design house also possesses "visitability". Your home welcomes a visit from an elderly relative or an injured friend.

Jay is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)

Read more about aging in place and Universal Design here.