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Optimal Living Environments for Healthy Aging - The Vision Skip to content

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Optimal Living Environments for Healthy Aging: The Vision


Housing design plays a critical role in a resident’s ability to age in place. Homes designed with a focus on older adults and those with disabilities provide safer living environments for all residents. This presentation by Richard Duncan of the RL Mace Universal Design Institute examines the significant impact housing design and living environment have on healthy aging, elements of universal design, and key stakeholders to engage in the planning process to ensure homes are built with all community members in mind.

Key Points

Providing more housing options and key features that foster healthy aging in place ensures that older adults will feel comfortable aging in their homes or communities. Building homes that are safe and accessible for older residents and those with disabilities makes these dwellings more accessible for all. This presentation provides an outline of universal design elements that make homes more livable for older adults including:

  1. Stepless entrance with a roof and 3 ft. wide doorway
  2. Key function areas on an accessible level
  3. Usable kitchen and bath configurations that are easily accessible
  4. Easy-to-use controls and hardware in reachable locations
  5. Integrated, marketable design that is appealing and attractive to consumers

When planning communities that feature universal design homes the key stakeholders to involve include architects, builders, planners, engineers, older adult advocates, aging communities, public health, elected officials, and consumers.

How to Use

This presentation provides a detailed overview of universal design and the impact living environments have on the livability of all communities. Community planners and local officials can use this presentation to gain an understanding of key universal design elements and how these features can be implemented throughout communities to improve accessibility and livability.

View Web Site: Optimal Living Environments for Healthy Aging: The Vision

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