Aging in place…Universal design…
Used to be when we heard these terms we automatically thought handicapped or “this is for old people”, but not anymore! More and more we’re seeing a blending of generations. We’re seeing people wanting to stay in their homes “forever”, so when they build or remodel, they think long term, not just short term and they think about what little things can be done so anyone can access their home.
It used to be that if you made an accessible design, it screamed handicapped, but nowadays, there are so many products and options that the goal with a good design is to make the entire design accessible without it looking that way.
For instance, open floor plans continue to be the trend and that’s great for accessibility. With the green movement we’re seeing the use of daylighting more and more often, meaning we’re seeing natural light used in the design of homes to light the interiors during the day and at night we have so many new options in lighting now that there’s no reason not to have great lighting. When considering any lighting, it’s always better to over light, put your lights on dimmers, that way you can turn down your lighting, but if you didn’t put enough lighting in, there’s no way you can turn it back up!
Plumbing is making it easier and safer for all of us…there are some of us that still remember when you could get scalded as a child taking a bath if someone flushed the toilet, now the manufacturers install water temperature controls to prevent this. They’ve also come up with attractive faucets that with a wave of the hand or a touch to the faucet, the water comes on – now how easy can that be? For those that are little and can’t quite reach those handles way in the back or those that have arthritic hands…it’s all much easier now.
Let’s not forget our porcelain thrones now! How many times have we all said…oh my aching back! The plumbing manufacturers have now come out with “comfort height” toilets. They used to call them ADA…but so many homeowners liked the higher toilets, that now just about everyone of our clients wants them installed as their new toilets. The comfort height is the same height as that of a standard chair, making it much easier to sit down and stand up from.
And don’t forget the overall bathing experience…tubs with doors allowing you to walk in and close the door and tubs with walls that raise once you’re seated in the tub, and transfer seats for those that are wheelchair bound with plenty of room for a caregiver as well. Of course, let’s not forget the grab bars in the showers…they’ve come a long way baby! Now a days, they’re decorative and a lot of times, built into the design so you don’t even realize they’re part of the bath.