Many new homes are being designed to be comfortable, pleasant, and accessible to any person — young, old, with and without disabilities. Existing homes can also be made accessible—some with only minor modifications—others may take more extensive changes.
As you move into your retirement years, you may plan on staying in your current home or you may decide to move. In either case, it's important to ensure that your home continues to meet your needs well into the future and that you can remain in your home as long as possible. This means creating an accessible home that hopefully helps you gracefully "age in place."
What is accessible housing? For many people, accessible housing means that the home is suitable for someone in a wheelchair. A broad definition is a home where a person can do what they need and desire to do as independently as possible. This definition covers everyone, not just those who use a walker or wheelchair.
Toured any new homes recently? They probably have accessible features such as lever-style door handles, specific task lighting, slightly lower light switches, slightly higher electrical outlets, and programmable thermostats. The Aging-In-Place Design Checklists from the NAHB Research Center lists items to consider when looking for housing or when considering modifications. NAHB is the National Association of Home Builders.
In this guide, we look at resources in these areas:
- Universal Design and Adaptive Design
- Adapting a Home for Independent Living
- Funding Home Adaptations or Accessible Housing
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