Whether it’s by need or preference, many families are living with several generations in the same home. This has led to a new architectural science: Universal design. It is a specialty that seeks to create environments that offer safety and comfort for all people with no need for adaptation or functional changes. Homes that incorporate universal design principles are suited for the needs of an aging population, and also appropriate for families with young children.
Here are some basic guidelines that can be implemented:
- Use levers instead of door knobs
- Use blade handles or motion controls on faucets
- Widen doorways to at least 36 inches
- Lower the vanity sink and eliminate the cabinet underneath
- Use an automatic flushing mechanisms.
- Install anti-scalding temperature controls in showers.
- Lower wall switches and raise receptacles so that that they are easier to reach
- Install illuminated wall switches.
- Consider wall ovens with doors that open to the side rather than fold down to the front.
- Lower the cook top so that burners are easily accessible by a short person or from a wheelchair.
- Refrigerator and dishwasher drawers
- Store dishes in below-counter drawers
- Install pull-out shelves
- Step-through tubs, and showers with no curbs