Universal design isn't designed specifically to be a home style for disabled or elderly residents however. The purpose behind the philosophy is that the designs are to work well for everyone, no matter their ability level, from the very young to the very old. Many of the differences that would be important in a universally designed home would be overlooked by someone without any disability. However, it is amazing what a difference that small changes can make in someone's day to day life.
One of the most important aspects of universal design is that of the entrance way. It is essential that at least one entrance way into the house be at ground level to make it easily accessible to anyone, including those with mobility problems. Along with the entrance height of the entrance way, it is important to ensure that the doors and halls in the house are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and allow it to navigate through the house. The bathroom is also a vital area that requires enough space for wheelchair accessibility as well as certain other safety features. At least one bathroom on the main floor of the house should be set up with a wheelchair in mind. It should have a raised toilet, lowered countertops, and a curb-less shower for easy entry. Non-slip floors in the bathroom, particularly the shower area are also beneficial.
Most of the design changes that would be needed to make your house more universal design friendly are things like making space for a wheelchair to maneuver, large rocker switches, lever door handles, loop-style drawer and cupboard pulls, and other easy design choices that have an eye toward being use able by everyone. It's not hard to remodel your house with some universal design elements, try to keep the principles in mind when planning your new home or renovation for best finished results.
***Survey your own home (literally) and let us know what you would change for universal design features to Stay at Home!
When universal design is mentioned, people often ask whether it makes sense for them personally. They wonder what the term means and if their home will have visual and market appeal, cost more to build or remodel, increase in value, or enhance their family’s safety, comfort and convenience. Many buyers focus on the moment and consider only their current age, family size, physical abilities and day to day activities—even though they want homes that will keep up with them through whatever change life brings, whether that change is having children, aging, or injury. The purpose of this survey is to help people anticipate and plan for their current or future housing needs and budgets. Each of these groups may find the survey particularly useful:
Here is the survey for you to take and send us your results: