Return to Article 11 months ago, Chrisogonus said... How do you design for 6" 8" male cook, arthritic mom who will need a wheel chair. Lastly a unorganized pig of a dad who does not help and can not help.as never has and is now on the way to dementia. The 6" 8" person has bad back because the world is so short. almost 3 years ago, Eleanordee said... Some ideas I had not considered for UD remodeling. Another article might be about adjustments to living in an older home that may be harder to remodel, such as in a historic home. almost 3 years ago, new reader said... Just don't know why new homes builders don't care about any of these. All new homes usually have 4-5 steps entrance these days. almost 3 years ago, JBronson said... I just read the comment by the person whose friend has to go up three flights of stairs to get into his apartment. A builder in Texas recently offered houses that are "green," and all of them have long flights of stairs leading to the outside doors and lots of interior stairs to make sure the house has a small footprint. I wrote to the magazine that published the story and said it was obvious the builders did not want handicapped people to move in. The editor wrote me back and said she hadn't thought of that but I was clearly right. Surely such homes violate the Americans with Disabilities Act! almost 3 years ago, JBronson said... Very helpful consolidation of suggestions for every room in the house. I was particularly impressed by the suggestion that the halls be 5 1/2 feet wide. I have a 4-foot hallway with books stacked along one wall. With my wheelchair, I often hit one of the piles of books and then have to lean way over to pile them up again. Our builder put in the right kind of doorways and door handles, but he didn't think of the width of the hallway, and it's too late to fix it now. over 3 years ago, Nita Faye Bush said... What about clothing for seniors. I am a senior. I have trouble with small buttons on my clothes. It is hard for me to button my clothes because the button holes and buttons are so small. What about jewelry. Ear Rings are hard for me to put into my ears. The clasps are too small for me handle and put into the holes in my ears. These problems can go on with many things for seniors trying to look nice but they can't because things are not suited for us seniors to cope with. Help seniors with easier ways to be able to dress ourselves without the help of someone having to do it for us. Thank you. almost 4 years ago, CA-Claire said... This article is absolutely great! When I retire and move, it gives me lots of information on how best to choose a home to 'age in place'. almost 4 years ago, DeMil said... Can you make your print size larger or adjustable fo iPad use. Please almost 4 years ago, The Wegs said... Thank-you. I feel that these handy ideas should actually be included in universal standard building regulations. The Wegs almost 4 years ago, Rob the Elder said... If a person can take comfort knowing that the decisions he made in an earlier stage of his life are approved and suggested even for new construction, then I take that comfort. I was never a runner, but I have a friend in the Midwest that was an avid jogger. He bought a condo in a vintage 30's building that has a three floor walk-up entrance, no elevator, and when in his apartment there are no bathrooms on the main floor. Both bathrooms are yet another flight of stairs up are the two bedrooms. When I think of how many trips I sometimes make from my car to my kitchen with groceries or other purchases, I reflect on making those trips while climbing three flights of stairs. My friend recently wrote to say he's trying to find an apartment that's all on one floor in an elevator building. He keeps finding them, but he needs to sell his current apartment to be able to afford them. No one seems to want an apartment with what amounts to a four story walk up, all things considered. When I moved to my current home, I moved from that one level condo in an elevator building to a one story home that has all the features your article described, except the width of the hallways. Since I live alone, a bypass in the halls isn't necessary. I'm also not physically handicapped, as yet, but it's comforting to think that I won't have to move should that unfortunate fate befall me. Robert C. Visconti almost 4 years ago, LadyLew said... Ideas for my dream house . . . should I live that long! almost 4 years ago, Joan in NM said... This article summarizes many of the key points emphasized in universal design. When I bought a house recently, I specifically looked for a house that could be converted to UD principles if needed. My choice is a house that was built in 1950 and is less than 1000 square feet. The most important features were the kitchen, hallway and closets! My house does not have a dining room (a drawback) but the kitchen is 14 feet by 12 feet and can accommodate a manual wheelchair if necessary without any changes. (A minimum 5' turning radius is required.) A galley kitchen is usually almost impossible to renovate for UD, especially if the gas, water and drains are in a concrete slab. While it can be done, it is prohibitively expensive. The current hallway to the bedrooms and bathroom is only 36" wide, but the walls are not weight bearing. The bathroom is flanked by bedroom closets on either side, so if it is necessary to expand the bathroom in the future, the linen closet and one bedroom closet can be sacrificed without having to change the water supply or drains. The sink, toilet and tub/shower can stay where they are. One or more walls can be moved a few inches to create a wider hallway, bigger bathroom and wider doorways as needed. None of the utilities will need to be moved. If I get a surprise and one of the walls is a bearing wall, a beam can be inserted overhead. This is still much less expensive than building a new addition, or completely remodeling a bathroom or kitchen. When I was looking at houses with my agent, I always took a measuring tape, notebook and camera with me. I measured doorways and hallways and the floor space in the kitchen. Almost all bathrooms were small (5'X8') but I looked for one where all the fixtures were on one wall. I made simple sketches of the floor plans and I made sure to include the closets on my sketches. I also paid attention to the slope of the roof because that is a simple way to figure out which walls are likely to be bearing walls. (Rafters run one way and bearing walls generally run the other way, at least in a square or rectangular house.) With my notes and sketches I was able to determine how difficult--and how expensive--modifying the house would be in the future. almost 4 years ago, a fellow commenter said... A good checklist of features. almost 4 years ago, OldNerd said... Thanks for a helpful summary of good design principles and practices. 2 additions to the kitchen items on page 2: "Pull-out work boards ..." does not say whether cutting is done directly on whatever is pulled out. Direct cutting would raise the issue of cleaning. A board easily removed for cleaning might be accidentally removed at an awkward time. My kitchen work surface is table height rather than counter height. I repurposed an office chair on casters to let me sit at the work surface and then slide to the frige w/o getting up. 2 additions to the bathroom items on page 6: "A wall-mounted sink with open space beneath ..." also makes it much easier to replace a faucet or fix a leak and then clean up afterward. Arm rails installed on both sides of the toilet have other uses besides helping people with difficulty rising from the throne. If U want to read or must do a little desk work, U can support a convenient surface (such as a medium-sized bulletin board) on 3 points: 1 from each arm rail and 1 from a laundry hamper or high stool. almost 4 years ago, Huw said... Very helpful for me, but wait for my wife's reaction when I put this to her! over 4 years ago, EEKittredge said... Re: putting electric outlets higher up on walls--this is useful not only for older people or people w/disablities who have trouble bending down, but also for the parents of young children who want to "childproof" their homes. They don't HAVE to be ugly--this is a design and decor problem, too bad if you're too lazy to bother working on it. over 4 years ago, amywax said... I really appreciate so many aspects to this article. What the article did not mentioned is that color can also play an important role not only in design, but in function as well. Having interior doors that are a contrasting color that you go through, vs colors that blend in to the wall color for areas that are storage as an example. I also suggest a bright color for the main entrance vs, a door that blends in with the siding if you do not want the general public to use that as an entrance. More importantly it helps to have colors in the rooms you spend the most time in to be more pleasant and soothing. Having chosen colors for people of all ages I find the colors for older clientele are seen as more muted, so choosing colors that are a little brighter is generally preferred. I often use the Color911 app, its a great tool for choosing the right colors. I have shown colors to people and asked what they liked.. then took my iPhone or iPad to the paint store to match the color. It is a great tool for experimenting with colors before you commit to any color scheme. Choosing the right color for anyplace you will be spending time is of great importance! over 4 years ago, a fellow commenter said... all on one page would be nice. Slideshows are for slides! over 4 years ago, Koblog said... 1. No stairs or sunken rooms. My elderly father became a prisoner in his own house when he lost his mobility and balance. 2. Wide passageways; halls and doors need to fit walkers and powered scooters. The newer 12' ceilings in home design and subsequent 8' high doors (instead of the standard 6'8" doors) mask that wider 3' doors are in every opening, including bathrooms. 3. Curbless, roll-in shower -- and for the truly forward-planning, a toilet in the shower. Once having gone through the effort of getting to the bathroom, have the ability to clean yourself completely with a hand shower. 4. Garage with enough room to swing the car or specialty van door open and get to the walker/wheelchair on level ground (perhaps with grab posts positioned for sure stability) -- and then be able to enter the house unimpeded by any steps or high thresholds. 5. Controls for lights, TV, phone, drapes, HVAC and other niceties that are easy to use and see. 6. A "casita" -- a functionally separate living space once called a "mother-in-law" room -- that has a kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping and living area, and its own entey from outside. Can be physically separate from the main house (like a converted garage) or attached to the main house. This can be for an elderly family member, but is more useful for your future live-in younger hired assistant. The goal is to live in your own house regardless of physical need and to AVOID AT ALL COSTS moving into a convalescent hospital, where you will be ignored, driven insane, starved and exposed to the myriad diseases of other inmates, all for a mere $339 PER DAY (in 2013 dollars). To live in your own house you will need a live-in assistant. That person will be a lot easier to attract and hold if they have free rent and a nice, private living space. If you build it, they will come. Bottom line: you need a single level ranch style home with no stairs, wide doors, maneuverable bathrooms and kitchen and a living space for your helper who will be paid for by your own private eldercare insurance. The alternative is to throw yourself on the mercy of IRS death panels. over 4 years ago, Laverne Jones Gore said... Well done. Very useful suggestions, timing is perfect as I am currently taking time to prepare my home. Good minds think alike! I love my house and while finances are continuous and health is good, I'm preparing. Thank you for this article..... I know with better confidence, that I'm not "preparing for the worst", I'm on the right track :). over 4 years ago, kedugan said... we built our three bedroom home in florida eleven years ago. we built it with taking into account my elderly mother might need one day to live with us. instead, i have had two strokes, and a major heart attack and am only 64 years old. so it is nice knowing the ambulance drivers will be able to get to me without having to climb up stairs and then carry me back down them or turn the stretcher sideways to get it through the door. over 4 years ago, DAFT said... I totally disagree with the pull out cutting boards. I feel that they would be bacterial breeding grounds because if they were typically wood, sufficient drying time would be necessary to prevent moisture-with traces of food to be given a ground to breed in the darkness of its storage, few people would be sure that it dried before putting the board back...and left out it creates barriers for little kids to hit heads on, or pull out on themselves, knives and all, and for the seniors as well to bump in to. Cabinet knobs? I personally hate them. The most, the absolutely most essential thing in my home? My movable carts. No matter where I live I can take them. Clean, efficient center islands or against the wall. Stainless steel tops and wheels on the bottom that lock. My shelf is the same way-wheels. I could change my mind a thousand times, or decide location just once, but move them to clean. I absolutely love them and have considered other pieces of furniture the same way. Yet for me, a forever home would need wheels. I may love my home, but as neighborhoods go, nothing lasts forever. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... I cannot believe how many people I've met who buy/build homes with no bedroom on main floor, no access to baths, etc. My mother lived with me. The older home we purchased was purchased with her in mind before she ever got sick ($62K just outside of Pittsburgh). We changed everything out that we could when she stroked. Having an accessible bedroom, bath, and kitchen on a level she could navigate was a Godsend... Everyone can be sick (or have sick children) at any time. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... So ... everyone should be forced to live with things that are convenient for handicapped people, no matter how inconvenient they might be? almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... We bought a foreclosure with aging in mind. We were looking for a one level ranch style home with no stairs, a formal dining room and some land. After moving in we removed the over sized glamor bath tub with surround. In its place we had built a large walk in shower with a wide seat in the back. My wife suddenly developed lower back pain and was able to hobble short distances using a foldable walker. I bought her a shower chair along with a hand shower head. She has almost fully recovered thanks to chiropractic treatments and core exercises. The shower seat is sufficient to hold her shower chair out of the way when not in use. We have one single step from our attached garage into our kitchen. My wife fell backwards while using her walker on that one step. Fortunately she wasn't injured. Aging will happen whether you plan for it or not. almost 5 years ago, janby said... An outside ramp would be prohibited in most urban (plotted subs) areas of NW Michigan. Our current home (if only we could sell it) has a ramp in the garage, hidden from view.and we would like to duplicate that. We would love to move to an area closer to our physicians and with access to buses for transportation. Building a similar universal design home to what we have would cost very close to 200,000! Not too many seniors can afford that as we can't currently. almost 5 years ago, ChristaL! said... If you already have a concrete ramp, consider using pretty shrubbery or dwarf trees around it. As they fill in, you won't even notice anything else! I especially like such hedges when they bloom at different times and some could be evergreens. (Arbovitae tolerate concrete better than most other evergreens). I'm adding dozens of shrubs on our sloping lot to attract birds and for fruit for people, too. (That's one sure way to see the neighbors! ;^) Instead of lawn in between, we'll have mulch and perennial paths and groundcovers. By laying in soaker hoses, we reduce water waste and time. By choosing shrubs that need little or no pruning, we save ourselves trouble in our old age. We're also selecting plants that resist drought, as water is getting more expensive, even in MN. Gardening has been my joy and a major form of exercise for me; I do it differently now, using raised beds, long tools, and a wheeled "creeper" to save my back. We are able to grow some of our own food in the city. almost 5 years ago, ChristaL! said... "Universal Design" is an exageration, or an aspiration; it overstates the possible sometimes. My husband is a full foot taller than I. At 4'11" and shrinking, I couldn't use a wheelchair at a 36" counter! I'd need about 2/3 that height! I'm wheelchair free again, but have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Stairs are painful. I do my PT, and I'm otherwise healthy enough to expect another 20 years, so we are planning ahead. We chose our 2 story home because the main floor was wheelchair accessible already (except the kitchen); the prior owner had a paraplegic child. We couldn't find a ranch in our price range. Happily, the house has NO BEND in the stairs, so we can add a CHAIR LIFT when we have to. Right now, they are about $4K. The wheelchair shower is GREAT for shampooing our large, long-haired dog. The "master bath" is usable now only as a powder room, but my husband is looking forward to a bath with bubbles. We'll eventually need to replace the stove with a cook top and oven at MY wheelchair height, replace the base cabinets and counter on one side of the kitchen with shorter ones, and lower the sink. Then we'll need another $4K @ for the stair lifts -- or else hubby has to do the laundry himself, as that an the utilities are all in the basement. Still, that's cheaper than adding an addition to the kitchen. The kitchen is 14' x 10' but has a patio "window" (no deck yet), and 2 doorways, so I suppose I'll have to find a designer who is willing to re-use whatever possible and knows UD. Meanwhile, we're replacing knobs with latch handles and pulls, as I've lost most use of my dominant forefinger and a lot of my grip. There are toilet seat "risers" that accommodate the taller, or those who need a higher seat. Computer furniture is getting prettier and is height adjustable. Be aware than shortening legs on chairs is next to impossible (I have no idea why, but that's what I've been told. In the case of tables, remove the existing ones and add similar ones already the right height. Menards, Lowes, and others have cabinet retrofits -- some surprisingly cheap if you know someone who measures CAREFULLY and has a cordless drill. Shelves can be replaced with drawers; there are even drawers which DROP DOWN to where you can reach things safely! Is there an architecture school in your university? Maybe they can make your retrofit a class project? Shop around! almost 5 years ago, lts669 said... Seriously - what is wrong with that guy's head? almost 5 years ago, lts669 said... What's wrong with his head? almost 5 years ago, kupunadancer said... Where are communities with Lifelong Design principles used in construction of homes? almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... MIchigan, at least NW Michigan does not have any interest in building such homes. The amount of lots and homes available in subdivisions (all tightly and expensively) controlled is huge but the houses are useless. almost 5 years ago, janby said... Excellent article but you can forget about finding such a home unless you are very wealthy or don't mind being shuttled off to a senior (condo) ghetto. We have talked to so many builders and all they can see are ways to raise their profits. No one nor any organization seems interested in building homes, not condos, suited for those who want to age in place or suitable to several generations. almost 5 years ago, anne6455 said... When I was remodeling the house I'm living in, I had mostly drawers put in in the lower part instead of kitchen cabinets. At first I was going to have them put drawers into the lower cabinets, but then thought why have to open cabinet doors and then pull out drawers. Now I just have to pull out the drawers. By the way, I had them made big enough to hold most large pots and pans etc. Works beautifully, and I never have to get down on the floor to find anything in the bottom cabinets. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... Having a degree in interior design with additional training in handicap and elderly design issues I became a remodeling and new home builder. Typical male builders - I am a woman - would have no part of incorporating features that would enable homeowners to stay in their homes when accessibility issues arose. Many of my clients have called me later to praise me and thank me for designing their homes to hopefully keep them out of rehab centers when injuries, illnesses, or a handicapped child - whether temporary or permanent arose in their lives. Wider, entrance approaches, locations planned for the possible conversion to an elevator, grab bars SECURELY installed from the start, kitchens designed for BOTH the comfort and functionality of the handicapped as well as the able-bodied in a family. Doorways that are wide enough for equipment. Tubs - not just showers - for healing soaking and relaxing use. i started that 30+ years ago when I myself was in an auto accident and realized the many small accomodations that could have made a tremendous difference and allowed me to function without help. i learned much of it when attending my hospital's program to learn how to adjust my life to live a happy, non-dependent existence. Since that wonderful care - I kayak regularly, ski, winter camp, climbed mountains - my first doctor was so anxious to get rid of me and get me on SS Disability that I fired him. That was 30+ years ago and at 69 I walk 3-4 miles a day, lift weights 3 days a week and have no disabilities. I am so glad the construction/design industry has awakened. They are so behind the times. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... As a rehabilitation nurse who has been extensively involved in discharge planning, I wish everyone who was house-hunting would look at these recommendations to see how and if a potential home could be modified. No one ever seems to think they're going to need an accessible home. I'm currently wondering how to modify a step-in shower for easier access when converting to a roll-in isn't feasible. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... I found this article very educational, inspiring and truly universally designed. My next place of abode must take these suggestions into account. Thank you. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... One of the suggestions is "simple and intuitive use." What about putting this article ALL ON ONE PAGE! Wouldn't that be simpler and more intuitive? almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... This is well thought out and informative. I'm an architect who knows most of this; but few residential designers are architects. The one tip I might add is higher counter tops (36") in the kitchen and baths with no cabints under the sinks to allow wheelchair access. There is nothing wrong with sturdy grab bars as dual service towel bars. If you ar building or remodeling have the builder at least install wood blocking so grab bars can be installed later particularly for the water closet. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... This is a good article. I would add that the bathroom should be ADA compliant and you might consider and elevator in your home. They cost about 20K. almost 5 years ago, theCodeWrangler said... I figured out the grab/towel bar for my own home. It really doesn't cost much more and there are nice styles available. The other ideas are great, as well! almost 5 years ago, katburds said... you always have such interesting and informative articles. This one is again so necessary to be informed as to living space choices. And why what you offer in ideas is not a luxury but a need. almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... counter height details. Do you have info on funding for a small community i wish to build in central Texas for disabled adults/seniors? I am just an individual who knows of the need for affordable assisted living. Any donors/partners? Thanks Bri. almost 5 years ago, Dr. D said... You are clearly a tool that thinks the world revolves around them- shame on you for not "liking" slideshows - grow up! almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... I can hardly hold back that I hate and despise slide shows. Don't understand why it can't be on one page. Bye. almost 5 years ago, Landlady said... When I designed my home for remodeling a dozen years ago, I didn't have this advisor. I made interior doors 36 inches wide and have 3 pocket doors. The bathroom is large and has rails where needed. I followed these suggestions without knowing. Now if I can only finish the darn thing... almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... I live in a huge 55+ community with many of the suggested items standard here. I disagree with placing the outlets high on the walls. Not only are they super ugly, they are dangerous. When something is plugged in, the cord dangles and is easy to snag. Most items, such as lamps, are plugged in once, and left there, so the convenience of not bending over occurs once, but the dangers of things being knocked over remains! Good idea in theory, not so much in practice! Many people here pay to have the outlets moved down...gets expensive! almost 5 years ago, RNCT said... Good thoughts for new construction or renovations! almost 5 years ago, email@example.com said... Great suggestions! Thank you. almost 5 years ago, yousafhaque said... Yes,yes and yes.All the suggestions in this article have touched my heart.I can't say which one is the best,because they all are.Thanks almost 5 years ago, EileenM said... I bought a "Garbage Disposal Genie" from the hardware store for Mom's kitchen sink. It keeps silverware and other small items from going down the drain, but has grooves large enough to let food go down. BEST THING EVER. They should be standard on all kitchen disposal units in my opinion. I don't know why the builder mounted the switch so far away that I have to stretch to reach it and the added possibility of knocking something into the sink while it's running is so dangerous. almost 5 years ago, John O said... True, these are many things best described as utopian, few houses, flats, apartments whatever you want to call them will have any of these ore even space available to install these. But the various ideas do give scope to think out how nearest can one get to such detail. I'm not sure about negating human effort; it does make it easier true, but a bit of effort does mean physical (mental too) activity, keep old muscles still capable of functioning. Good to aim for overall, even beyond the reach, from any aspect, of more than a few of us ; almost 5 years ago, bharat49 said... very nice suggetion and very useful such a small things to add . almost 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... We are in the process of renovating parts of our home to make it more accessible for my wheelchair bound husband. This article provided some very good info. almost 5 years ago, Backbutton said... Good to know, wish I had this 20 years ago when I was house shopping for a home with my parents. Alas, they both passed now. almost 5 years ago, yahag said... all I want is a forever senior apt with a washer dryer dishwasher in my unit - Controls illness in my belief and proof when raising children a lifetime ago. All I get out of this computer is information I do no need. almost 5 years ago, layoung said... all of it. additional ideas to improve accessibility. about 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... @cammosutra: Try putting your basket beneth the washer when removing you stuff. I do that and just dump all of it in from the washer down into it. That's how you can prevent your stuff from falling on the flloor everytime. about 5 years ago, cammosutra said... I have a front loading washer and I HATE it! Why? Because stuff always falls on the floor when washed clothes are being removed. Solution? Put the washer door hinge on the bottom so it opens downward. Than if something falls it lands on the door, not the floor. Good article though. about 5 years ago, a fellow commenter said... The article seems to ignore building codes in many states. Circuit breaker panels in the garage are required in some locations for easy access by firefighters and other first responders. Garbage disposal switches are intentionally mounted high and and away from the disposal to minimize risks to children playing in or near the sink. about 5 years ago, Kate9373 said... These items are very desirable. I was amazed how many were incorporated in my 10 yrs. old manufactured home. However, the ones that aren't, I struggle with every day. I'm 80 yrs. old with aggressive RA. Also, I am 5 ft. tall and am faced with out of reach situations all day long. Standing on tip-toes or using a step is not safe nor is it useful. Before my sweetheart died he could reach high and low. Keep exploring and re-designing our living area. It is needed. over 5 years ago, Aard said... How on earth did I get here... From Cracked? over 5 years ago, dman84 said... Lighting could be solved with occupancy and/or motion sensors. These also save money by eliminating "forgetting" to turn lights off. over 5 years ago, sunspot said... A build in ledge or bench in the shower would be nice for those who find it necessary to sit when showering with a hand held shower. over 5 years ago, Kate C said... What is the source of the blue shower chair on this page, or at least the photo credit? Thank you for your excellent site. over 5 years ago, balong45 said... My personal experience suggests that having glass walls and windows with wall folding blinds is a must. It could conserve power (room illuminations) and bath walls with glass blocks or the like to have a wholesome feeling while taking shower. almost 6 years ago, hamabar said... i love to see more! almost 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... great to have some helpful tips ahead... almost 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... Some new ideas that are practical and easy to apply. Thank you. almost 6 years ago, CED said... The switch for our kitchen garbage disposal is under the sink on the inside of the cabinet wall. This prevents anyone from accidentally turning on the disposal. The electrician thought I was nuts for wanting it there but that's where it's been for more than 30 years and it's the safest location I've found. almost 6 years ago, CarmineK said... Very nice and informative, though I would've liked to have seen some tips on lighting which becomes increasingly problematic with age. almost 6 years ago, bbnrse said... This is an awesome, thorough article with a lot of useful, practical information. about 6 years ago, sandramac60 said... These are exactly the design features my wheelchair bound husband and I have discussed and implemented, wherever possible, in our home. We have frequently noted that any accommodations made for his convenience will, in time, be necessary for my own comfort and well-being. Thank you for a great article. about 6 years ago, dorg said... Its helpful to think of a retirement home later. about 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... My husband and I are getting older and we are open to hearing about ways to make our lives easier to live. about 6 years ago, sierraseven said... "Grab bars securely anchored to the structure of the walls in shower/bath/toilet areas ensure stability when moving in and out. They can double as towel bars." This can't be emphasized enough: First, GRAB BARS - safety bars, not towel bars. Real safety bars are more expensive and harder to install, but they are a necessity. Consider having one next to the sink, too. And consider - if the elder is easily confused - removing towel bars and replacing them with hooks or towel rings, if the elder is at all likely to try and support himself on a towel bar by mistake. SECURELY ANCHORED TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE WALLS - if you don't know how to do this yourself, hire someone. They need to be attached to the studs with 3" screws. Using short screws or fastening them to the wallboard is a recipe for disaster. "THEY CAN DOUBLE AS TOWEL BARS" - no, they can't. Please DON'T get in the habit of hanging towels on safety bars. First, this can lead to confusion if you also have non-weight-bearing towel bars in the bathroom, too - the elder may try to place her weight on a regular towel bar. Second, if a person suddenly loses his balance and grabs for the safety bar, and it has a towel on it, the person may not be able to get a grip on it. The towel may slide and cause a fall. Safety bars are for one purpose - to bear weight. In fact, some have grip surfaces on them - more expensive, but possibly worth it if the elder has weak hands. Also consider safety bars on either side of the toilet that mount on the floor. For the person who does not like ADA-height toilets (in the comment above), they are easier for the elderly to get up and down from, as their legs are often not as strong as they used to be. about 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... Good article. One counterpoint is to consider that having some elements in your environment that keep you using your whole body through your 50-70s. https://www.vitalitycity.com/ about 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... Raised toilets are the most uncomfortable thing in the world, and make it near impossible to go to the bathroom properly. Why do you call it "comfortable" and advocate it along with all these wonderful ideas? about 6 years ago, Jean SmilingCoyote said... When I clicked on this from another website, I thought there would be more than just Universal Design. E.g. how about a house which in addition will withstand all the natural hazards of its area? Here's me website: http://EFTornadoSafeHome.com. about 6 years ago, Kand504 said... A circuit-breaker panel that's on the main floor (as opposed to out in the garage) can be easier to access... Don't forget local buillding codes. You may not have this option. over 6 years ago, poopatti said... Bathroom adjustable stools. However, we tried disposal buttons on the counter and changed. Very dangerous with children or adukts who my not be used to your kitchen. Also, a built-in food processor and attchments is nice. Used to have one in Arizona. I was fit with a metal plate in counter for cover when not using. Patti over 6 years ago, a widow said... I wish we had been able to do some of these things for my disabled husband. We ended up with "screaming" concrete ramp rather than the roller coaster framework. We managed with a bit of creativity and a lot of give and take on both sides. He's gone now and maybe some day I can do a few of these things as I get older. Funding being the usual ongoing issue...just like it was when my dear husband was living. over 6 years ago, a fellow commenter said... it conciously hit me recently i am getting older and i sat here crying, i dont like it! getting older and confined on limitted doings, i cant climb stairs that well, cant walk that far, i have numbness in my fingers, i have bad back, bad legs, and i have breast cancer. i try to keep busy, i collect dolls of 34 yrs, i make hand made bead jewelry, i do a bit of scrapbooking, and i have a few pages on facebook. slowing down some sy. bought 3/4 of an acher of land and am searching for grant assistance to help build a safe house in verona ny area.... over 6 years ago, PAHillbilly said... Another helpful feature is the below counter cabinet slide out drawer for those unable to bend over. over 6 years ago, HBOLsunshine said... it would also be helpful to have the "walk-in" tub for "ambulatory" seniors who have difficulty climbing over the tub side --- who enjoy having their bath rather than shower. also, having a toilet room separate from the bathing room would be convenient for "family" living. having a dressing area within the bathing room would be really convenient for senior/child bath time. :) over 6 years ago, Later said... These ideas are helpful in looking to remodel too. We do have one level but need wider doors and want to have a roll in shower stall. I'll keep these handy for future projects too. over 6 years ago, ADOM said... Good job your article seems to great sound... very initiative.. Keep sharing over 6 years ago, BuddyBob said... This article is a tremendous help for all people. I especially like the not so noticable wheel chair ramp as opposed to the normal gigantic roller coaster frame built up in the front of the main entrance. I would like to add my favorite addition to safety - that being talking fire/smoke/carbon monoxide and gas detectors. They are really neat and each one goes off at the same time and audibly says whats wrong. Such as fire in the garage! Great article - thanks Bob over 6 years ago, Jill Grant said... Your home is such an important part of life. Choosing a home that is designed to be used by everyone, young,old,handicapped or those who are completely able to do anything, will make it more desireable if and when the time to sell comes. I for one am in a wheelchair and would love to have access to other homes. We are all going to get older and many of us will face obsticles we don't even consider when building a home. over 6 years ago, MyronBenLevy said... One of the best put together articles I have seen..I would like to give it to everyone of my customers and potential customers for Home Modification for Elderly, Alzheimer, Dementiam Cognition etc..as well as Catastrophic C-2 and Better..Spine, Brain, as well as MS..Pain..Operations..Stroke..Etc. Myron Ben Levy Founder & Managing Partner Home Modification as a Care Center LLC Atlanta Ga.