In essence, a universal design home is a home that has been designed for everyone. The home should accommodate disabilities of all types so that the homeowner can retain their independence throughout their life. Allowing the homeowner to cook, clean, and live comfortably should be the goal of all universal design homes. Rooms in the home have been adjusted and added to in order to help the homeowner get around and complete their daily tasks. Depending on the disability, after a homeowner has moved in, more additions could be added for further customization.
Examples of Universal Design Principles in the Home
- A Wide Turning Radius – Those in wheelchairs or motorized scooters need a wide area to freely turn and move without hitting obstacles.
- Low Storage Space – Keeping storage spaces lower in the room will let people in wheelchairs reach utensils and food without straining.
- Side By Side Refrigerators – By arranging the freezer and refrigerator to be side by side, it prevents people in wheelchairs from struggling to reach high.
All Around The House
- Smooth Flooring – Carpet should be avoided. Wood floors and tiles allow for wheels to move smoothly.
- Light Switches – All the light-switches should be placed where a person in a wheelchair can reach them without reaching far.
- Wide Doors – All doors, especially the entrances should be at least three feet wide. That allows for wider chairs to pass through easily.
- Showers – The showers should be big enough that another person can offer assistance in and out if needed
- Grab Bars – Grab bars should be put around the bathroom, close to the shower or bathtub, and the toilet
- Toilets – The toilets should be approximately seventeen inches off the ground, which is the best height for a wheelchair.
People in wheelchairs can have the freedom that means so much to them. By moving into a universally designed home, their lives will become less stressful and easier overall. Removing the fight to navigate their own home will let them devote more time to a job or hobbies they enjoy. Of course, they may still need assistance in certain areas of their life, but owning their own home is far more personal than staying in a group home. Nobody wants to give up the freedom of having a house; choosing a universal design home will keep seniors and disabled people happy and independent for as long as possible.