The whole point of universal design is to make life easier and more convenient for everyone. In designing houses, products and technology to accommodate people with mobility issues and other physical challenges, designers have discovered that many accessible products and designs have universal appeal. The convenience of lever handles, pocket doors, wider doorways, spacious hallways, and barrier-free entries has created a huge market for such products among people of all age groups and abilities.
The Universal Design Living Laboratory near Gahanna, Ohio, showcases home design features, products and technology that make aging in place possible. Some features like installing full-length mirrors and grab bars in bathrooms can be easily accomplished. Other features like lower counters and shallow cabinets require more extensive remodeling. But the Universal Design home shows how far accessible home design has come and promises a bright future for people who want to live at home as they age.
Some of the more interesting features of the Universal Design home include:
- Pedestal-style sinks in bathrooms that do not inhibit wheelchair or walker access and give bathrooms a fresh, updated look
- Staggered counter heights, roll-up cupboard doors, and multi-level towel bars in bathrooms accommodate all family members
- Barrier-free bathtubs and showers allow easy access by wheelchair and walker; shower seats, grab bars, and multi-level and hand-held spray heads increase bathing safety and convenience