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What Are The Differences Between Universal Design And Aging In Place?

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Aug 26, 2019 @ 10:08 AM

     If you have been considering a home remodeling project and have searched the general landscape, you're probably  familiar with the terms Universal Design and Aging in place. Some people use these words interchangeably, but while they are similar, they do differ. Both are specific design techniques used to make a home more comfortable for individuals of different abilities.

     Aging in place design is mostly used for homeowners who require home modifications to allow them to remain in the home safely and comfortably as they age and their physical abilities change over time. Universal design is a much broader term covering the design of products and environments that are usable by all members of the household, from the youngest to the oldest, to the largest extent possible, without the need for further alterations, adaptations, or specialized design.  Universal Design provides a pathway to seamlessly age in place.  It is truly thinking ahead when it comes to accommodating the living environment for better home access.

     Young and middle aged homeowners should begin to think about incorporating universal design or aging in place aspects as they periodically accomplish renovations or updates to their homes. It is easier and more affordable to think ahead and include accessibility and future ease of use as part of a planned renovation than to add these elements later in life. Planning ahead is important for everyone, no matter their physical abilities. Remodeling your home to age in place later by enlarging doorways, a roomy bedroom suite, or a full bath which incorporates a walk in shower requires effort and money. Don't wait until it's necessary forcing a full blown costly remodel. Including universal design elements and aging in place amenities early on is not only smart planning, but it also is virtually undetectable.  If done correctly, it will accentuate any style, and should you sell your home, can add value for potential buyers because the group of buyers increases with accessibility.  Universal design elements are often incorporated into aging-in-place renovations.  Implementing universal design principals is the perfect way to meet the needs of everyone from the multi generational family to first time home buyers and includes elements for those who are disabled including mobility issues, impaired sight and more.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

     Aging in place remodeling is used to modify a home as the homeowner matures.  It provides continual access and maneuverability to the home immediately. Aging in place is not age related. The design is convenient and comfortable. Some modifications are noticeable like replacing the bathtub with a roll in shower with grab bars or replacing exterior stairs with a ramp.

    Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to an individuals personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Universal design/build  project in Austin

     Universal design came about because disability is common during our lifetime and homes are best designed with accessibility for everyone.  At some point disability affects most of us in our lives. If a design works well for the disabled, it works equally well for everyone. With universal design thoughtful aesthetics and usability are harmonious.

     There are really three categories of aging in place customers.  Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes.  The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues which will come as a result of their disease.  People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group.  The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has  progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings. The goal of an accessible bathroom design in Austin is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. Aging in place services use universal design to accommodate wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. It is important to carefully outline the scope of work during the remodeling of an accessible bathroom by first taking inventory of the users capabilities, needs, and preferences.  All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. Aging in place design must be carried out by an aging in place specialist.

      Most aging baby boomers prefer one story homes in which to age in place and this has become a primary reason to relocate versus a remodel.  They are looking for an accessible master suite and kitchen located on the same floor.  However, some developments mandate building two story homes.  The above requirement can be easily met by placing the guest bedrooms and accompanying bath upstairs.  If the master suite for any reason needs to be upstairs, closets can be stacked between floors to house a future elevator installation.

     Universal design is more of a blanket design category that is focused on aging in place remodeling later. It is a design approach that ensures the homes and commercial buildings can be used by virtually everybody, regardless of their level of ability. By using universal design, people who are very different can all enjoy the same space as their living space evolves with them during their lifetime. It's a design technique that ensures that a home will be there for the entire family even when their personal needs change.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Universal Design/Build projects and Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in the Austin area. We have an A plus rating with the local BBB and have over 30 years of remodeling experience. We are a certified aging in place specialist offering complete aging in place services.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs to increase your accessibility. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS #1636580


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