Incorporate Universal Design in Your Home Remodel

AARP has identified 12 Universal Design features that can be incorporated into your home if you are planning to Age in Place – that is, if you’re hoping to stay in your current home through your golden years.  Your house may require some modifications to accommodate older, aging people.  The features are considered Universal Design because they make the living space usable for anyone, regardless of ability or age.  We’ll focus on four each month from a building and remodeling perspective.

No-step entry – First, if you’re doing a room addition, make sure it has outside access, and make sure that access has no steps.  Or, if you can remodel the front area of your home by replacing the front door or porch, make it a no-step entry.  The benefit here is clear – the home is accessible for people in wheelchairs or those who use walkers, canes, or just plain shuffle.

Wider doorways and hallways – Kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels should always incorporate wider doorways.  If you are building a new home, wider hallways can be part of the plan.  

Walk-in, no threshold shower – Bathroom remodels or bathroom additions are popular among home owners because they increase the home’s value.  While there are many choices in showers, think ahead to ease-of-use and safety for everyone.  A shower that has no threshold provides a safer environment.  It prevents tripping or falling, and it allows those with walkers or other assistance devices to be a little more independent.

First-floor bedroom and bathroom – First-floor master suites are trendy but they are also full of purpose.  Ideal for people whose children are in their teens or have grown and moved out, first-floor master suites are just right for the person who can no longer use the stairs.  They can also be used as in-law suites for those who are moving toward multi-generational living.

Next month, look for four more design features that are Universal.