Planning For the Future: Incorporating Universal Design in New Homes

“Housing for all” -  a phrase heard more frequently these days due to the demand for universally designed homes to meet the needs of a broader range of individuals. Fantastic single family home designs that include modern themes and creative use of space are everywhere, but few seem to address the challenges of those that cannot get in the front door, are unable to get up a flight of stairs, or simply get a dish out of a cabinet that is too high. These challenges are faced by people in all stages of their lives, not just the elderly. Imagine a small child trying to help in the kitchen, a senior citizen with a physical limitation, or someone with a broken leg. A home that incorporates universal design is ready to take on all of these challenges.

The best time to implement universal design features is when building a new home. Many universal design features can be incorporated into the house design that will have little to no impact on the price to construct the home. An added benefit is that the home will appeal to a broader range of individuals when the owner is ready to sell the home.

Long term trends indicate multigenerational households are becoming more common as the baby boomer generation ages. Younger families are facing the task of how to care for older family members in their own homes instead of nursing homes. Universally designed homes make these choices easier to implement.

As future homeowners continue to think about their long term living situations and plan ahead when building a home, making them aware of universal design options can be an important factor to consider in meeting the needs of their families and easing the burden on their pocketbooks.

Contact the Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) for more information on Universal Design trends (417.886.1188).



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