12 Nov Universal Design Renovations
Did you know, if a home is built or renovated with consideration that a person with physical limitations can live in it, then “anyone” can live in the house. What is “Universal design”? It is an approach to design that incorporates products as well as building features and elements which, to the greatest extent possible, can be used by everyone. Features that allow for accessibility provide the ultimate in flexible living and allow us to remain in or home as we age, permits live in or visiting parents or possible future injury or disability. Universal design is planning ahead for what could happen and allow you to remain in your home with maximum independence.
Let’s discuss what some of these building features, elements and products could be:
Access – Being able to physically enter your home is critical, therefore wide walkways, low grades, level entry when possible, ability to add future ramps or lifts, 36” entry doors with low thresholds and larger landing.
Maneuverability – Once in the home, can you get from area to area and use all the features of your home, therefore flooring should reduce trip hazards, level surfaces, location for future lift, wider stairs, railings, wider doors with lever handles, future elevator location.
Functionality – If you can’t use it from a setting position, then it may need to be moved. Light switches can be lowered, outlets can be raised, motion sensor lighting, smart home technology, kitchen and vanity cabinets with drawers’ verses doors, curbless showers, grab bars, shower wands, higher toilets with bidet and lower closet rods.
All the items listed above should be consider when building or renovating. These items do not take away from the beauty or style of your home but will make it a safer and more flexible place to live for as long as you chose to stay in your home.
A surprising bit of information that many people do not realize is that for the cost of a government funded nursing home for one (1) person for one (1) year, in the majority of cases, would allow a renovator to create a space that would permit a person to age safely in their home for many years. By investing, we would be saving considerable funds and allow people to stay at home where they want to be close to community and friends. We need to take a serious look at how we care for our aging population and make a positive change. I know this may sounds self serving as a renovator, however, I truly believe that investing in “Universal Design Renovations” would be a progressive change that would save taxes dollars, stimulate the economy and better care for our valued and aging population.