According to an AARP survey, 90 percent of adults age 50 and older would prefer to stay in their homes while they age. However, as these adults continue to age, they may begin to face obstacles within their home environment that make living independently a challenge. This AARP fact sheet discusses home design issues that could arise as one ages and the possibility of implementing universal design and visitability features in the housing stock in order to combat these issues.
The fact sheet provides an introduction and brief overview of the importance of implementing universal design and visitability features, as well as examples of universal design features and strategies of how to promote such features. Universal design is defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
Other report highlights include:
- Universal design can be applied to different products and settings but visitability focuses exclusively on housing construction.
- Visitability is concerned with three key features: easy entrance and exit, wide doorways, and first-level bathrooms.
- The changes recommended by universal design and visitability enhance the sale and resale of homes.
- Voluntary or incentive-based programs for developers and homeowners may increase the implementation of universal design and visitability features.
How to Use
The fact sheet highlights universal design and visitability features for housing that improve safety and usability for older adults and people with disabilities. With the lack of a federal law requiring universal design and visitability features to be implemented, community leaders need to reconsider the residential building codes and ordinances in their area. City planners and local government officials can use this report to understand better the importance of implementing universal design and visitability features in homes to accommodate the needs of older adults wanting to age in place.