The U.S. Census Bureau reports our elderly population will more than double between now and the year 2050, to 80 million people. That means roughly one out of every five adults in the U.S. will be over the age of 65. Universal Design is related to aging-in-place remodeling and an experienced Aging-in-Place home remodeler or design/build team can help you remodel your home using universal design concepts.

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeler’s Council, “Everyone can use universal design! It doesn't matter if you are young or old. You could be short or tall, healthy or ill. You might have a disability. Or you may be a prize-winning athlete. Because of universal design, people who are very different can all enjoy the same home. And that home will be there for all its inhabitants even when their needs change.”

NAHB reports these are some of the more common universal design features that are also incorporated into aging-in-place remodels:

• No-step entry. No one needs to use stairs to get into a universal home or into the home's main rooms.

• One-story living. Places to eat, use the bathroom and sleep are all located on one level, which is barrier-free.

• Wide doorways. Doorways that are 32-36 inches wide let wheelchairs pass through. They also make it easy to move big things in and out of the house.

• Wide hallways. Hallways should be 36-42 inches wide. That way, everyone and everything moves more easily from room to room.

• Extra floor space. Everyone feel less cramped. And people in wheelchairs have more space to turn.

“Some universal design features just make good sense” says NAHB. Once you bring them into your home, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. For example:

• Floors and bathtubs with non-slip surfaces help everyone stay on their feet. They're not just for people who are frail. The same goes for handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms.

• Thresholds that are flush with the floor make it easy for a wheelchair to get through a doorway. They also keep others from tripping.

• Good lighting helps people with poor vision. And it helps everyone else see better, too.

• Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for people with poor hand strength. But others like them too. Try using these devices when your arms are full of packages. You'll never go back to knobs or standard switches.

One of the biggest challenges in the next 30 years will be how to meet the demand for quality living environments for these older adults. Ultimately, we wish to see our senior adults able to stay in their own homes for as long as possible but this will often times require lifestyle, floor plan and interior design modifications to accommodate older residents needs. An experienced Aging in Place design build team will work hand-in-hand with family members, medical advisors, and construction teams to insure that loved ones won’t have to give up their independence or home. At Sikora Creations, we’re experts at aging-in-place. Let us help you incorporate Universal Design into your existing home to make your Colorado Springs home more comfortable and more livable for years to come.