What The Heck Is Universal Design, Aging in Place and All These Other Goofy Terms?

Most marketing people couldn't pass challenging science classes in college so they invent important sounding, science oriented phrases like "Brand Architecture" and Brand DNA. 

                                   Watch the video - how to make a home safer for seniors

A couple of the newer ones are Aging in Place (aka AIP) and Universal Design.  The only people that know what they mean, are them.  Most real people have no idea what they are talking about.  Here are some definitions.

Aging in Place is the ability to live in one's own home - wherever that might be - for as long as confidently and comfortably possible.

Individuals are encouraged to remain in their community, as they grow older. Aging in place refers to people living as independently as possible, using products and services to enable them to stay in their communities as their needs change.

This is the phenomenon in which older individuals are choosing to remain in the area they live in after retirement rather than moving to new communities.

Growing older without having to move. From your current place of living (your home) to a retirement home or some other place as you get older.

Since most older adults prefer to remain in their own homes despite increasing frailty, bringing services into the home is an option for semi-independent older adults.

When you boil all this down to its simple core... its simple.  People want to remain in their own homes as long as possible.  Plus, its a lot less expensive.   But due to physical limitations, they may have challenges.  Many of these can be overcome with changes to the design of the home, new capabilities and a range of tools that can help.  There are also outside services that can be used such as in home care.

It really is very exciting what is happening to make this all a reality.  My wife and I, both in our late 50's have talked about buidling the perfect "Age in Place" home.  We may get around to this one day, but for now we focused on our business, The CareGiver Partnership, helping caregivers and their loved ones with some items that will help them remain in their homes.  We used quite a few of these with my Mother-In-Law.

So, how can the home be modified to accomodate this objective?

Generally accepted principles...

The ability to get into the home easily without stairs.  Can you use a wheelchair for example.

Maximum 1/2" vertical change in level at thresholds

32" wide interior doors

Strike edge clearance at doors: 18" interior; 24" exterior doors

Hardware which uses leverls versus circular handles.

Entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer

Doorbell at 48" maximum height in accessible location (36")

Visual fire alarms and visual doorbells

Switches, outlets and thermostats at 15" to 48" above the floor

Rocker light switches

Closet rods and shelves adjustable from 3' to 5'6" high

Residential elevator or lift


Grab bar backing in walls

Grab bars

5' diameter turning circle

36" x 36" or 30" x 48 clear space

Lavatory with lever faucet controls

Open-front lavatory with knee space and protection panel

Contrasting color edge border at countertops


Anti-scald devices on all plumbing fixtures

17" to 19" high water closet seat

Roll-in shower in lieu of standard tub or shower

Shower stall with 4" lip in lieu of standard tub

Hand-held adjustable shower head


30" x 48" clear space at appliances or 60" diameter clear space for U-shaped kitchen

Removable base cabinets at sink

Countertop height repositioning to 28" high

Lever controls at kitchen sink faucet

Base cabinets with pull-out shelves

Base cabinets with Lazy Susans

Contrasting color edge border at countertops

Microwave oven at countertop height

Under cabinet task lighting

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com/ to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


Post a Comment