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CYNTHIA offers excellent suggestions for home owners...and (IMHO) especially for Baby Boomers who are looking to make improvements in their "castles" to ensure comfortable "aging-in-place" Possibilities...
Being a Boomer myself, I am a Big Fan of universal design (as you can see by my 10-part series in the links below)...CYNTHIA points out.."Universal Design places an emphasis on aesthetics and multi-generational use. You should be able to enter a Universal Design environment and not even realize that certain features exist for users with unequal abilities..."
Aging in Place, as defined by Wiki, is "the ability to live in one's own home - wherever that might be - for as long as confidently and comfortably possible". Universal Design has an important role when it comes to the Aging in Place concept.
Before I start talking about Universal Design, let me share something with you. *Beginning January 1, 2006, on average, a new 60 year old was celebrating a birthday every seven seconds, and these celebrations will continue for another 18 years. The impact of this demographic shift will affect every level of our social, economic and political systems.
There is a name for this group of adults ... Baby Boomers. And as the 17 million or so baby boomers age, I predict that many home modifications will be taking place to allow them to Age In Place using Universal Design principles.
The term "Universal Design" was was coined by an architect (Ronald Mace) to describe the concept of "designing all products and environments to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life".
As such, Universal Design places an emphasis on aesthetics and multi-generational use. You should be able to enter a Universal Design environment and not even realize that certain features exist for users with unequal abilities.
One of the simplest examples of Universal Design is a door lever in place of a knob. My Mother-In-Law just had wrist surgery due to debilitating arthritis ... turning a knob can be extremely painful. A door lever, on the other hand, requires minimal physical effort to open for a Senior or a child. Even a canine companion, if tall enough, can open a door if a lever is in place.
Every design concept comes with a written set of principles and this one is no different:
Equitable Use - Identical or equivalent use for all users
Flexibility in Use - Accomodates a wide range of preferences and abilities (e.g. right vs. left handed)
Simple and Intuitive Use - Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills
Perceptible Information - Use redundant presentation of essential information (sight, hearing ...)
Tolerance for Error - Minimize hazards for unintentional or accidental use
Low Physical Effort - Minimize sustained effort while maintaining a neutral body position
Size and Space for Approach and Use - Provide adequate space for a standing or seated user
Aging In Place: The Role of Universal Design is one of a series of posts, sharing my thoughts about the aging baby boomer population and how it will affect where and how we live.
OUR SAGE COMPANION QUARTERLY MAGAZINE - Features: Lifelong Homes that Work for Everybody. Aging-in-Place, Real Estate Trends, APPS for Elders, Sustainable Design & a New Vision of Aging in Feathered Nests.
10+ YEARS SPECIALIZING IN LAND BROKERAGE & FOREVER HOMES. "Boomers" Properties. AGING IN PLACE Homes. Large Acreages. Horse/Organic Farms. Creative retirement, sustainable innovation, quality of property and life in with YOU IN MIND.
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Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.