A Very Short Overview Of “Universal Design”

Universal Design

UD Or Universal Design Is A Basic Building Block To "Home Safety" Features
It Is Worth The Time - Please Read

In the 1980’s and 90’s, significant progress was made in defining “accessibility” or the ability to safely move around a building and “use” the features of your building or home.  The term “Universal Design” or “UD” was defined.  Simply stated, “UD” defined how to eliminate obstacles to mobility and make it easy to preform basic functions i.e., opening a door or accessing a shower or being alerted to smoke or carbon dioxide regardless of your mobility or sensory abilities.  So, without getting to much into the technical aspects of Universal Design, if home safety is of interest then we need a basic understanding of “UD” as the acronym is peppered into many articles on home safety.  Here is a recent article published by AARP author, Margie Signan. 

https://states.aarp.org/north-carolina/safety-at-home-with-universal-design  please visit the site to read the full article.


Safety at Home with Universal Design

By Margie Sigman , May 19, 2020 11:12 AM


If you’ve been home-bound for a while, your indoor scenery may be getting old. You’ve probably cleaned out a closet or two by now, but what about amending your home environment to make it safer? A tip sheet (https://www.udinstitute.org/post/top-5-tips-to-improve-home-safety) from the RL Mace Universal Design Institute (UDI) can help you with that. “These few simple changes can make a difference,” explains Richard Duncan, Executive Director of UDI. “They can get you thinking more about home safety and might very well result in a plan for more substantial changes later.”

Universal design is the idea that environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should and can be used by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance. AARP has long advocated for better home design, better home features, and helpful products that can allow us to continue living independently by enhancing the safety of our homes. With America’s aging population wanting to stay at home––to “age in place”––the ideas behind universal design are timely and on occasion even lifesaving.

Universal design might translate into a small change like putting a table next to the front door so that you aren’t fumbling for keys as you hold packages. Or it can mean re-configuring the whole entrance. “Say you have a front porch with steps, and you hire someone to change it to an entrance without steps,” Duncan explained. “Now a person who uses a wheelchair or walker can easily come into the home. So can a parent or grandparent pushing a stroller, or even a child pushing his of her bike!”

Education is key to making more people aware of universal design. “The demand has to be there for homebuilders to change certain aspects of their designs,” says Richard explains. “If more potential homeowners know what to ask for, builders and remodelers are happy to deliver, and down the line we’ll have safer, more accessible homes for everyone. We look forward to partnering with AARP to show people how they can live at home more safely as they age.”

Is your home fit to be a lifelong home? Check out the AARP Home Fit Guide and smart solutions to make your home comfortable, safe and a great fit.


Excerpts from article from UD BOOMERS weekly newsletter:

https://www.boomermagazine.com/universal-design-homes/  please visit the site to read the full article.

A House That Works For Everyone

By Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. | August 7th, 2017

Universal design makes life easier and enhances independence

People expect “home” to provide independence, accessibility, safety and peace of mind – regardless of disabilities, limitations or health challenges. Many are choosing to stay in their homes for as long as possible to avoid moving to senior-care communities.

This movement isn’t restricted to people who are aging. It applies, as well, to patients with sudden health changes – due to accidents, stroke, spinal cord injury – as well as to those with degenerative conditions such as arthritis, amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS), dementia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.

If you share the desire to remain at home, will the house where you are living sustain your independence for years to come? Could you come home after a hospital visit to recover from surgery or illness, or would you need to go to a rehabilitation or nursing facility? As your mobility diminishes, what home modifications and changes would be essential to ensure accessibility and safety?


By following universal design guidelines, a home will provide an improved quality of life for all occupants, not only those with disabilities. In addition to having more freedom in a home due to universal design, a home may also provide improved convenience and safety, restore human dignity and provide peace of mind.

Plan now for home renovations or a move into a different home. Make a wise decision and be proactive before realizing that the configuration of your house is limiting your ability to function in your home. 

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