Did you know the average age of a home in the US is 39 years old?
As many of us know, a majority of the current housing stock is not made to accommodate people with varying abilities, and there are many details to consider. Homes built over 40 years ago were not constructed with the intent of accommodate multi-generational households or people with health conditions. A recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies explains that housing built after 2000 is more than twice as likely to have extra-wide hallways and doors than housing built pre-1940. However, “still only one in six newer units has extra-wide hallways and doors.” And one Universal Design feature does not make the home enabling.
Wider doorways and lever handles are a great start, but a well designed home needs to address our lives as a whole. It’s important to be proactive about the place you call home to accommodate your entire family, no matter what the situation.
Working toward a solution
Scott and Sarah Pruett, of Universal Design Partners, specialize in helping people design or modify their homes according to Universal Design (UD) principles. They’ve made a great tool that measures universal design and safety in homes in hopes to help people understand the value of UD and the positive impact it has on people at any age. Their free, DIY assessment is found at SafeScore.org and provides immediate suggestions on what features in the home could be improved for increased safety.
The SafeScore is a great starting point for homeowners to get a baseline when considering modifications. Scott and Sarah encourage a collaborative approach between building/design professionals and healthcare professionals when making changes to homes. Each service provider brings a necessary perspective to the table that results in the creation of a space that encourages increased participation in activities now and into the future.
Check out Universal Design Partners to determine your UD SafeScore.