Senior Living Trend: Universal Design

More Americans than ever are expecting to remain in their homes, either by themselves or as part of a multi-generational family unit. We have seen a huge increase in this trend, known as “aging in place,” which has sparked a growing emphasis on the universal design of homes in order to appeal to residents and guests of all ages.

Essentially, universal design concepts focus on developing a home environment that’s comfortable for all ages. These homes can provide a safe living environment for a senior while also allowing adults, teenagers and young children to enjoy visually appealing surroundings.

Here are a few examples of how a home can be renovated using universal design principles:

  • wider doorways and fewer interior doors
  • no thresholds, with smooth transitions from carpet to hardwood or tile
  • electric outlets and switches within reach
  • at least one walk-in shower, with a removable showerhead and plenty of room for a shower chair
  • variable counter heights in the kitchen and bath
  • door handles that are levers instead of knobs
  • abundant and effective lighting (with lights that can be turned on BEFORE entering a room)

When these principles are incorporated, seniors can remain in the home with their family members without feeling that they have “taken over” the house. Additionally, these senior-friendly features improve the ability for your loved ones to make use of the entire house, rather than being limited to those rooms that have been modified for their use.

And the good news? With the quickly aging Baby Boomer generation, adding features like this will maximize the home’s value when it comes time to sell.

by Lori Wengerd, owner   •   Home Care Assistance

Home Care Assistance is central Ohio’s premier provider of in-home care for older and frail adults. The company understands the importance of universal design principles because we see how it allows older adults to live safer, happier lives — at home!