What Is Universal Design?

I'm hearing the term used more often. Universal Design. It sounds space-age, like futuristic styles that are really out there. But not so. Universal Design is about making your home accessible for every type of resident. Homes that reflect the needs of aging home-owners and people with mobility issues. And it makes sense. We're all aging, whether we want it or not. Why not be ready for it?

One of the great things about Universal Design is that you don't have to do the entire house at once. You can pick and choose which room to begin in, depending on what works for your budget and needs. Maybe you want to start with wider doorways to allow for assisted mobility devices, or maybe you want to prepare your bathroom for when you're not as spry as you once were.

Here are just a few examples of Universal Design:

In the kitchen –
Mount appliances lower, make them accessible at wheelchair height.

Open shelving can make for ease of access.

Single lever faucets and well maintained sliding drawers make it easier for those with arthritis.

In the bathroom -
Shower benches and curbless showers. Alterations that reduce trip hazards and allow for comfort.

Mounting grab bars around the toilet area and in the shower stall or bathtub area.

Throughout the house there are other things you can do, such as using lever door handles instead of doorknobs around your home. You can reduce the amount of floor transitions to cut down on tripping issues, and you should think about where those wall-socket and light switches are sitting. Universal Design is all about ease of access for everybody. And it's a great way to prepare your home for your future self.

** You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-706-1069 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca **

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