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Top Ten Universal Design Elements For Home Remodeling

universal bathSeptember is National Preparedness Month, does your home include universal design elements so it is accessible for those in walkers or wheelchairs?  Is it ready should an accident or a stroke change your mobility?  We don’t have to be old to be incapacitated as a result of a car accident! What if a parent’s home wasn’t ready and they needed to come live with you for the same reason? Do you want to help them be prepared so they can stay in their home as well?

Most homes do not include universal design elements, and it is up to the savvy homeowner to plan for the future. Incorporating universal design when doing home remodeling can help facilitate safety and independence as mobility, strength, and sensory modalities change as we age, or rapidly as a result from accident or illness. For the next 15 years, 10,000 people will reach retirement age every day, and having a home that for aging in place is a highly valued.

Here are 10 ways when doing home remodeling to make your home more universally accessible:

  1. No threshold entry, including no steps to have a “visitable” home
  2. Have a level ground floor, fill in any sunken rooms
  3. Hallways are at least 36” wide and doorways at least 32”wide
  4. Provide a universally accessible bathroom on the first floor
  5. Install grab bars in bathroom around toilet and in shower
  6. Have a first floor master bedroom with a curbless walk in shower
  7. Include a hand held shower and shower bench
  8. Install a Tornado Body Dryer, for an easy quick way to dry off and stay warm
  9. Specify rounded corners on countertop edges
  10. Include adequate lighting with easily reached controls

It is easier and less expensive to incorporate these universal design elements when you remodel, than trying to retrofit later. It could be a comfort in case of a sudden change in health for anyone in the family, to know your home is ready for your needs. When doing remodeling, seek to hire a firm that has nationally certified Aging in Place Specialist, or a Universal Design Certified Remodeler on staff. They have passed an exam and participate in ongoing education to keep current with products and best practices.


Happy Home Remodeling!


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