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Design for Living

Ninety percent of AARP members want to live in their own home and community for as long as possible. AARP is committed to empowering its members to age with success and live independent lives. That is why AARP has made livable communities a national priority. In New York, AARP has worked together with county legislators and piloted livable community programs on Long Island and in Westchester County. The intention is to expand these programs throughout the state and make it a place of lifelong living for all New Yorkers.
 
Universal Design Features in Homes
 
Incorporating universal design features in a home is one way to make it safer for its residents. The National Center for Disease Control states that one third of home accidents can be prevented by modification or repair. AARP suggests that even the smallest adjustment, like changing a light bulb or door handle can make a home safe and more comfortable. See what modifications you can make in your own home with AARP’s Home & Safety Tips & Tools checklist.

Some of these changes can also help someone maintain their independence longer. That is why AARP suggests that home builders start building homes that are universally designed and have life long access in mind. AARP has been hard at work on a number of initiatives to do just that.

At the beginning of 2009, Suffolk County on Long Island passed a law requiring all new affordable housing to meet Universal Design and Visitability standards. AARP supported this law and collaborated with the County legislature to get this model legislation passed. This law has set a new standard for creating model initiatives that help people to age independently in their own home.

The 4 principles of Universal Design are:

1. No step entry
2. A bedroom on the first floor (or a room that can be easily converted)
3. A full bath on the main floor
4. Wide doorways (at least 36 inches)
 
AARP has also worked together with Access Long Island, a coalition of builders and community organizers that promotes the use of universal design, to pass ordinances that offer incentives, such as expedited zoning for private homes that include universal design plans. If you want to encourage your town or county officials to replicate these initiatives, you can download the model law and drop them off at your county center or town hall: … Back to Article

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