Elderly Care: Plan Ahead with Universal Design
There have been murmurs in the elder care community lately about the benefits of Universal Design. Basically, when choosing a new home or renovating your current digs, keep in mind the usability of the space for people of all ages — after all, multigenerational homes are becoming more and more common in the U.S.
So what exactly is Universal Design? AARP describes it as such:
Universal Design is about creating an attractive, stylish space that everyone, regardless of age, size, or ability, can live in or visit. A home with Universal Design makes it easier for residents to live in, and for guests to visit now and in the future, even as everybody’s needs and abilities change.
Universal Design — commonly referred to as UD — goes beyond just the home. It can also enable and empower a diverse population through universally accessible transportation, streets, buildings, et al. Perhaps most encouraging is the fact that UD pairs chic design with accessibility, so you won’t have to live in a house with a bathroom reminiscent of something found in a sanitarium. While most people can’t afford a complete renovation of their homes, there are some low-cost fixes that can be easily done, including creating a no-step entry, a single-floor living space, and installing easy-to-use handles and switches.
AARP blogger Patti Shea, a 41-year-old full time caregiver of her aging parents, shares some insight on why incorporating UD into your home is a good idea:
Think of the future you — While you may be healthy now, it might not always be that way. Shea recommends doing yourself a favor and audit your house today, making note of what needs to be changed now and on into the future.
Think of your family — Many UD amenities that are befit for seniors are ideal for small children, too. For example, wider hallways that can fit a walker or a wheelchair can also fit a stroller.
Think safety — Fall proofing a home will help ensure an elderly person’s safety. Likewise with proper lighting and building a rap into your home. “Everything about UD has safety as an underlying factor,” She writes.
Are there any other benefits of UD that we missed? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
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