How Universal Design Creates a Seamless Aging-in-Place Experience
Updated for December, 2021
Barrier-free design was developed to remove obstacles in the built environment for people with physical disabilities.
The History of Universal Design
There is no denying that society is changing on a global scale as more and more individuals live longer. An estimated three million individuals will turn 65 every year for the next two decades or so.
The changing makeup of the family has led to the growth of a new architectural science: Universal design. Simply defined, it is human-centered design that seeks to create environments and products that offer safety and comfort for all people with no need for adaptation or functional changes. The evolution toward Universal Design began in the 1950s with a new attention to design for people with disabilities. Barrier-free design was developed to remove obstacles in the built environment for people with physical disabilities.
In this country, multi-generational households are more common today than they were even 10 years ago, due in part to the recent recession. Planning ahead for the possibility of such a reality, if you are building or remodeling, is worth a bit of time and effort. Homes that incorporate universal design principles are not only perfectly suited for the needs of an aging population, but are also appropriate for families with young children. Aging in place, for you or a family member, can be accomplished seamlessly with Universal Design.