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Consider Aging in Place When Building

Great presentation on Universal Design this morning by Todd Hawkins of Builderfish! Universal Design helps home owners to stay in their homes as they age or modify their current home to allow for aging in place. Since our house hold often ages from 2 to 89 and I hit the 50 year old mile stone this year, I found the topic of particular interest. As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, we’re moving into the stages of 55+ and active; progressive conditions; and crisis mode! It sure would be great to age in place and not have to move into a retirement facility!

When Karen and I built Camp Karen (our current home) eight years ago, we tried to use Universal Design before it was in vogue. Karen’s mother was going to be living with us so we designed the home with two owner’s suites, zoned heating and cooling, no step access, 3’0” doors, easy to use door knobs and faucets, pocket doors, accessible bathrooms, etc. Now we have people in our home from 2 to 89 so the design options make life easier for all! Heck it just makes getting groceries into the house easier! With a little planning before construction, a home can be more livable without adding greatly to the cost. Homes built using Universal Design will have an advantage in resale and as rentals.

More links for Universal Design info:  American Association for Retired PersonsVirginia Accessible Housing, Jefferson Area Board for the Aging, Grants for Veterans to Modify Existing Housing & another great Veterans Affairs site (I recently had a friend/client use this program and it allowed him to stay in his house! This program remains a great way for us to thank our Veterans for thier service.)