Did you know that simple little things like fewer steps, wider doors, lower heights of counters, lower thresholds can all help in some ways to allow an older person to live in their home longer. This is all a part of Universal Design, a design principle that is taking the construction world by storm, since it is no longer an issue that is only for older people, but rather a design principle that applies to all ages.
In today’s world, our population is aging. Many contractors today remodel homes for older clients by adding things such as wider doorways and hallways in the kitchens and bathrooms to make these areas more accessible.
One successful Universal Design Contractor, Mark Miller, of Mack Miller design+build in the Twin Cities tries to incorporate accessible design in all of his projects. He states the following:
I propose curbless showers for all my bathroom bids. The greatest satisfaction for me are the accessible projects that change the family’s quality of life. Yes, a total home remodel for a typical client change the look and feel and often the functionality of a home for the family, rarely is it life changing the way an accessible bathroom or an elevator is for someone with accessibility issues.
The best part of this is that a creative and skilled contractor and designer can bridge universal design with almost any remodel project. There is no reason that Universal Design or Aging in Place design need to look outdated and boring. Since you will have a blank canvas and typically larger spaces due to creating this access, you can get creative and your creative talents.
You have so many options when it comes to making a kitchen more functional and universal design friendly instead of sterile and institutional looking. Start with designing an open floor plan that will work for the entire family and one that can work well for someone in a wheelchair to move around in the room confortably.