There are several features within universal design, which focuses on creating a home that is adaptable, flexible, safe and easy-to-use.
Some examples include: a step-free entrance into the main floor of the home, wider doorways and hallways, lever door and faucet handles, secure handrails on both sides of stairways and a walk-in/ roll-in shower with non-slip flooring. A livable home also has a bedroom, full bath and kitchen on the main level and cabinets, light controls and electrical outlets that can be accessed while standing or sitting. Residents have the option of upgrading their existing home with the features of their choice, or implementing these designs into a home they are building. Learn about other universal design features.AARP launched Home Fit in Florida to support the growing population of older adults who wish to age in place. “AARP Florida has participated in local and state aging-in-place housing summits and conferences to help educate senior housing and service professionals on this important topic. Home Fit takes this information directly to the family and homeowner for implementation,” said Sithong.
A Floridian who understands Home Fit’s initiatives is JR Harding, a quadriplegic of nearly 30 years who describes incorporating universal design features as “sound planning practice.” When he began his search for a home in the late 1990s, Harding found that there were not many efforts in place to accommodate his unique needs. He decided to buy and renovate an existing home in order to maximize its functionality and livability. According to Harding, implementing a universal design has improved his life.
“It has empowered me to be a part of the community. It has allowed me to stay in my home. It has allowed me to maintain my independence, which is the most important part of all,” said Harding.
Find more information online about Home Fit, or please contact AARP Florida at 1-866-595-7678. Assess your current home’s livability by using our checklist.
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