A kitchen is often thought of as the “heart of the home.” For generations, families and friends have gathered in the kitchen to make and break bread and to engage in a wide range of social activities. Today, we live longer than our predecessors did and as a result, are less likely to be as dexterous as we once were and significantly less mobile.
It is no secret that the bathroom is the site of many home accidents. Many people take measures to reduce the possibility of injuries—most notable by reducing “slipperiness” with higher friction mats, coatings and by attaching “safety tread” type materials. This is a good start, but, it is only the beginning.
Gerald Brennan was 84 years old when he observed, “Old age takes away from us what we have inherited and gives us what we have earned.” He was referring to those physical capacities we are born with, but, if some of the things we have earned over time such as our unique identities and our homes, then circumstances and old age may well take those away from us also.
An accessible home incorporates adaptation and accommodation preparations and installations in living and work areas that can make a dwelling safe and functional to the residents for a lifetime. Making a home more accessible for life is a good investment on every level.
A majority of home-buying and building decisions are made people are in the prime of life and health. Often, primary considerations are safety for children, budget, color, floor plan, neighborhood and school districts. In a society where people live longer and where many medical conditions are treatable, planning for future lifestyles and physical limitations can be very important. This article gives some suggestions on how to design for future accessibility.
Universal design means creating spaces that meet the needs of all people, young and old, abled and disabled. From the arrangement of the rooms to the choice of colors, many details go into the creation of accessible spaces. Some general guidelines are listed here.