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Planning For Aging In Place

As we age, the desire to stay in our own homes becomes more important. For many of us, the thought of leaving our home and community is a scary proposition.

The home environment and aging in place can be a challenge for many older people.

Fortunately, there are design strategies that can help us age in place gracefully and safely.

As we age, our future needs can change and we may need to plan for different types of care and or adding accessibility features in our homes such as a curbless shower or walk-in shower in order to create a safe and accessible design.

The principles of universal design are a set of guidelines for the design of products and environments to be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or disability.

Universal design is an approach to design that takes into account the needs of all users to the greatest extent possible, regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.

Universal design features can be incorporated into any home, making it more livable for people of all ages.

Who Benefits From A Home Modification?

For the best quality of life, it’s important to adapt our environment according to who we are and what we need. Home modifications, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association or AOTA (aota.org) “benefit clients of all ages with health conditions, sensory or movement impairments, or cognitive disorders by supporting the performance of necessary and desired daily activities (occupations), safety, and well-being. That’s why there is a growing segment dedicated specifically for 5 types of people:

  • Older adults wanting independence as they age;
  • Families with children that have special needs;
  • Anyone living with disabilities themselves looking for convenience;
  • Baby Boomers prepping now so their future will be taken care of later on down the road
  • Plus any other person from all generations!

Listen To Podcast:

Former Vice President of Home Depot , Mike Hogenmiller, Talks About the Economic Power Baby Boomers Leverage

Aging In Place Vs. Universal Design

There is a big difference between the two approaches of universal design and aging in place.

Universal design is about making things accessible for everyone, regardless of age or ability. Aging in place, on the other hand, is specifically about making homes and living spaces safe and comfortable for older adults.

There are some similarities between the two concepts, of course. Both emphasize the importance of accessibility and both strive to make living spaces more comfortable and convenient. But there are also some key differences.

Universal design is more concerned with ensuring that everyone can use a space, regardless of ability or age.

This means that things like door handles and light switches need to be easy to use for everyone, not just older adults.

An important aspect of aging in place is using universal design approaches to make the home more accessible for everyone.

Universal design is an approach to design that takes into account the needs of all users, regardless of ability or age.

This means that things like door handles and light switches need to be easy to use for everyone, not just older adults.

Aging in place, on the other hand, is specifically about making homes and living spaces safe and comfortable for older adults.

This can involve things like installing grab bars, adding more LED lighting in the bathroom, kitchen, and hallways, adding technology in the home to improve communication both internally and remotely, or widening doorways to accommodate wheelchair users.

So, which one is right for you? It really depends on your needs and preferences.

If you want to make sure that your home is accessible for everyone, then universal design may be the way to go.

But if you’re specifically interested in making your home more comfortable and safe as you age, then a combination of aging in place design or as I have coined it “Living Well Design” and Universal Design elements is probably a better option.

Some Common Universal Design Features Include:

  • Wider doorways and hallways that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Lever handles on doors and faucets or bathroom fixture
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Good lighting
  • Easy to reach storage
  • Multi-level counters in your bathroom and kitchen
  • Automated window treatments
  • Smart home features

These are just a few of the many features that can make your home more comfortable and safe for all.

By incorporating universal design principles into your home, you can age in place with confidence.

Aging In Place Principles Include:

Ease Of Use: As we age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain our sense of independence. One way to do this is to choose products and services that are easy to use.

Comfort: As we age, our bodies change and we may not be as comfortable in our homes as we once were. Adapting our homes to better suit our needs can help us age in place comfortably and safely.

Safety: One of the most important things to consider when aging in place is safety. There are a few key areas to focus on in order to make your home as safe as possible.

Security: One of the most important things to consider when aging in place is security. As we age, we become more vulnerable to crime, both as victims and as targets.

Visitability: These features can make it easier to get around your home and community, and can provide a safe and comfortable space for visitors.

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