Since 1960 the average life expectancy in the United States has risen from 69.7 years to 78.7 years, and it continues to increase. This sounds like great news for all of us, and it also means that being able to stay in our own home and live independently, even when mobility begins to decline, is more critical than ever. More good news, aging in place design makes it possible to live a full and independent life as we grow older, and while we’re still young.
Universal Design, is just that, universal. It’s not only an aging in place consideration, but a thought process for making your home more accessible and safer to navigate for people of all ages and abilities. Think short, tall, young and old, elements of this design philosophy will help everyone that lives in or visits your home. It could be the doorknob you choose for the door, the faucet installed in the bathroom, or even the placement of lighting and switches in every room. We’ve had more than one homeowner tell us that the Universal Design elements were great for recovering from knee surgery. You never know what life might throw at you, and with the right perspective and planning your home can be there to support you when you need it. When you’re considering remodeling, it’s the perfect time to make your home friendlier to its occupants.
Many people hesitate to explore the benefits of Universal Design because they’re concerned that adding its elements in their home will make it ugly. This is a common misconception and one we’d like to dispel right away.
Click here to check out: Will My House be Ugly with Accessible Options? There have been many advances when it comes to the aesthetics of Universal Design elements.
Universal Design is not ADA. Accessible options are no longer just useful in a Walmart bathroom or an industrial kitchen. With the right planning and approach, Universal Design is virtually invisible in the home. Except to all of those who notice how easy it is to live in your home. Still not convinced? Good design also can prepare your home for the addition of adaptable features, making it easy to add to elements to your home later as you need them without ripping out the new stuff you’re putting in now.
Want to see some great examples of safe and beautiful spaces? Our 3 Favorite Aging in Place Projects: Behind the Scenes Look
No, we’re not talking about the government here. Another common misconception about incorporating Universal Design into a project is that it will drive up the cost. Simply put, good Universal Design will not jack up your project budget. With the right planning, during the design process, many design elements can be incorporated at no cost at all. It is essential, however, to consider these options early in the process and not after construction starts. While it will sound self-serving, we strongly recommend working with a contractor with experience in designing and building these projects.
When comparing the cost of assisted living to the cost of a Universal Design remodel, there is often no competition. It’s typically more affordable to renovate your current home to be more accessible than it is to move you or a family member into an assisted living home. One adds value to your home, and the other adds value to the assisted living home’s bottom line.
One of the hardest things we all go through is accepting any loss of our independence and self-sufficiency. The experience of moving from your own home, where you’re family, to a place where you’re treated as a patient, is truly life changing. Just another reason that remodeling your current home makes better sense for everyone.
Our goal with these pieces is to help you get the information you need to make educated choices for your home and family. If you’ve found this helpful, share it with others. If you have questions or would like to request other topics to be covered, please use the comment section below, and we’ll make sure you get you the answers you need.
We are proud of our team and the beautiful work they do. Give us a call or email today and experience it for yourself. We would love to talk with you.