Common Universal Access Design Features – Drummond House Plans Blog

As a tail-end baby boomer, it is strange to anticipate my golden years. After all, I have a few years to go before I get there… Right? Still, now that the kids are moved out and the morning stretch is not as stretchy, I have to face reality. We are aging.

This week’s blog entries will be on many aspects of aging in place and universal design. In 2001, one in every eight Canadians was over the age of 65. By the year 2026, one in every five Canadians will be over the age of 65. Unfortunately, a common companion of aging is declining mobility.

As you build your new home, you have the flexibility to look forward and plan for a home that is comfortable and flexible for yourself, your family and your guests not just for the present but as your life evolves. Working with your home designer and your builder to let them know that this is important to you will help to plan for future modifications during the construction stage.  

Here are some of the more common universal design features:

  – No-step entry. No one needs to use stairs to get into a universal home or into the home’s main rooms.

  – Single-story living. Places to eat, use the bathroom and sleep are all located on one barrier-free level.

  – Doorways that are 32-36 inches wide let wheelchairs pass through. They also make it easy to move big things in and out of the house.

  – Wide hallways –  36-42 inches wide. That way, everyone and everything moves more easily from room to room.

  – Extra floor space so everyone feels less cramped and people with wheelchairs or walkers have more space to turn.

Other universal design features just make good sense for all residents and guests. For example:

  – Floors and bathtubs with non-slip surfaces help everyone stay on their feet. Slips happen at all ages and abilities so prevention just makes sense. The same goes for handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms.

  – Thresholds that are flush with the floor prevent trips and also make it easy for a wheelchair to get through a doorway.

  – Good lighting helps people with poor vision. And it helps everyone else see better, too.

  – Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for people with poor hand strength or arthritis. These are also great for young family members and convenient when your arms are full of packages. You’ll never go back to knobs or standard switches!

Remember to check back all this week for additional posts and resources or even better, subscribe to our RSS blog feed at the top of this page.


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