Remodeling For Retirement – Universal Design

Retirement… the word may conjure up visions of living it up in Florida, but 70% of senior Americans decide to spend the rest of their lives in the same place they were when they turned 65. If you’re planning for the future, think carefully about your home. How easy will it be to climb multiple staircases? Could you open doors and turn knobs? Will you be able to reach the necessary things in your kitchen?


If the answers to these questions are mostly “no,” you should consider remodeling your house with easy living in mind – and it’s better to make these renovations before you need them. Universal design takes into account the needs of all of a home’s occupants. Below are some principals that home remodelers consider.


• At least one entrance to the house should be “barrier free.” Not only does this mean ramps but also paying attention to curbs or doorframes that might trip someone up. Outside lighting should be good.


• The best easy living design puts all the rooms you need – kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room-on one level. Or consider installing an elevator. You also need wider corridors and doorways. Floors should be made of non-slip materials.


• A kitchen remodeling project should plan to lower the stove, cabinets, and counters to bring them within reach of someone seated. You should have floor space for maneuverability.

Pull-out or pull-down fixtures in cabinets also help.


• Not only do showers and bathtubs need handrails, but consider installing a seat. Bathroom remodelers also recommend a walk-in shower or even a walk-in tub. Toilets should be lower than standard and the room should have plenty of floor space. Faucets should have easy-to-operate levers.


Universal design helps ensure your home is comfortable at any age.


Joaquin Erazo, Jr. is the senior vice president of marketing and public relations at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. Find a home remodeling company near you or read our home remodeling tips blog.

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