When I recently met with a couple preparing to sell their six-level town home we discussed that even though it is in a fabulous town home complex that is in demand with downsizing Baby Boomers, six levels is likely to be an obstacle to overcome. When the complex was built in the 1960s aging in place wasn't even in people's vocabulary.
Now, everyone seems to be much more aware as they witness their parents and grandparents age… and many also have friends and family who are disabled and are looking for universal design for all ages and physical abilities.
In the words of architect Gene Nicolelli, Universal Design can best be described as a holistic approach that shapes environments so they may be used by as many people as possible, regardless of age, ability, or circumstance, without discrimination and have lifetime value.
Existing homes can be modified using these design characteristics… but if you are thinking about building a new home check out Aging-in-Place House Plans by Nicolleli Architects… even won a Best of 50+ Housing Award!
Don't make the mistake of thinking these designs are just for 'old people'… universal design is also great for young families (think navigating strollers, open space for families to live, work and play together)… people with physical disabilities… and everyone else! Univsersal design simply equates to good design, accessible for all.