You want to remain in your home as you age, and to do so, you’ve likely taken steps to ensure your health is protected, but have you thought about how your home could influence your ability to avoid a nursing home?
Older adults have the highest percentage of home ownership in the US at 80 percent, but many of these homeowners live in homes not well equipped to meet the needs of aging adults. That’s where universal design can help.
What is universal design?
Universal design is simple: It’s products or buildings that are accessible to people with an array of disabilities. The concept has many terms including: accessible design, inclusive design, aging in place or living in place. The bottom line? Whether you have disabilities or not, incorporating universal design features — like lever door knobs instead of standard round ones — into your home can help you stay independent.
Here are three benefits of universal design:
It can provide cost savings in the long term: Adding universal design features to your home — especially if you’re building a new construction — can reduce the likelihood that your home will need to be remodeled to accommodate the needs of an injured or ill family member. Because you have added these features to your home, it’s less likely your family member will have to leave home to live in an assisted living center or nursing home.
It can increase the value of your home: According to Rosemarie Rossettie, adding universal design features to your home can:
- Speed your home sale
- Give your home improved marketability and increased retail value
- Give your home longer value not only for you but for those who live there after you
It can provide more safety and increase your independence: Universal design features can lower your risk of falls and other injuries, which can help you feel safer as well as allow you to remain independent for as long as possible. These features can include:
- A curbless shower
- Low glare surfaces and lighting
- Grab bars
- Slip resistant tile
- Motion sensor lighting
Whether you’ve been living in your home for years or are looking for a new place to call home, adding universal design features to your residence can give you peace of mind and keep you safe.