Tucson Universal Design: Aging in Place

Nothing against assisted living, but I hope it is a long time until I need to leave my Tucson home. By utilizing Universal Design features and products, I will be able to move freely in my house for years to come.

These are some of options which make it easier to function without assistance:

Wide Doorways and Hallways – Installing or remodeling doorways to at least 36 inches wide allows you to move large pieces of furniture or appliances through your home. Additionally, 42 inch wide hallways allow complete movement, including motorized wheelchairs and emergency access.

Single-Floor Living – We frequently see homes where the number of occupants fluctuates. Typically, this is with older homeowners whose family members visit. Clustering a kitchenbedroom, full bathroom (with plenty of maneuvering room), and an entertainment area on the same floor eliminates the hassle of stairs. It also provides a more functional environment for just one or two people who don’t need as much space.

Reachable Controls and Switches – Place light switches 42-48 inches above the floor, thermostats no higher than 48 inches from the floor, and electrical outlets 18-24 inches above the floor. This allows anyone, even those in a wheelchair, to reach them. Also of note are rocker light switches, which make turning on lights easier for all ages and abilities. 

Easy-to-Use Handles and Switches – Turning on water and opening doors can be a challenge for those of limited mobility. Lever-style faucets and door handles turn these difficult tasks into a breeze for everyone.

No-Step Entry – Whether it be a front, back, or garage door, having at least one no-step entry allows everyone, even those in a wheelchair, to enter the home easily.

Universal Design Products:

Raised front-loading washers, dryers, and dishwashers make it easy to

complete regular household tasks.

Side-by-side refrigerators provide equal access to both the freezer and refrigerator.

Low or no-threshold showers with built in benches or seats provide additional safety and access. Shower bars are another good safety precaution.

Covered entryways give you and your visitors protection from Mother Nature.

I look forward to enjoying my home for many years to come. What about you?