Universal Design Solutions to Help Aging Baby Boomers Remain at Home

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It’s natural to be nervous about life-changing decisions, whether it involves buying a new car, moving to a new location, or having children. As you get older, you may come to a crossroads in your life and have to make the decision whether to move to a smaller residence or a retirement community. Another option to consider is modifying your own or your loved one’s home so you or they can simply age in place. With some simple changes to your home and the addition of special furniture and/or design elements, you will easily be able to  stay in your home. 

Today’s seniors all need some assistance to continue to live the way they have been used to—safely and independently at home. More than ever, there are many products and services that allow seniors to do this. Through a process known as universal design, a safe home can be created for anyone, regardless of age, size, or ability. 

In fact, according to AARP, “Universal design features and products make a home safer and more comfortable for a wide range of people.” Universal design is meant to fit everyone and adapt to every lifestyle including:

•  Families who have young children;
•  Baby Boomers who want to stay in their current home as they continue to age;
•  Individuals with limited mobility or dexterity;
•  Seniors or younger people who may be living with a permanent or temporary disability.

Implementing universal design features and products in a home will help to prevent accidents, increase comfort and safety, and enhance the homeowner’s independence. 

Essential universal design features include:

  • Raised front-loading washer, dryer, and dishwasher; 
  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer; 
  • Easy access kitchen storage (with pull-out shelves and adjustable height cupboards); 
  • Low or no-threshold stall shower with a built-in bench or seat; 
  • Non-slip floors, bathtubs, and showers; 
  • Raised, comfort-level toilets; 
  • Multi-level kitchen countertops with open space underneath so one can work while seated; 
  • Windows which require minimal effort to open and close;
  • Covered entryway or porch to protect you from rain and snow; 
  • Rocker-style light switches; 
  • Task lighting directed to a specific surface or area that provides illumination for specific tasks; 
  • Easy to grasp cabinet knobs or pulls.

Universal design modifications can also increase a homeowner’s feelings of being more independent while adding aesthetic beauty to the home. The goal is simple:  to create and add features to a home that make it a little easier for someone to carry out daily activities such as preparing meals, climbing stairs, as well as changing the physical structure of a home to improve its overall safety and condition.

As people begin to age, it becomes more difficult to be comfortable using their regular household furniture that they had been so used to. Universal design solutions include senior-friendly furniture items. If you can find furniture created especially for seniors or people with disabilities, suddenly daily life becomes a little more manageable.

One such product we came across recently was the Milo Aluminum Laptop Table – by BDI, which is the perfect sidekick and ideal for indoor and light outdoor use. This laptop table is an all-in-one daily aid that seniors of any age can make use of. 

Lightweight at just 10 pounds, Milo is as easy to move as it is versatile, whether working on the sofa or kicking back on the patio. It can also be used as a food tray, side table, and more. Milo Aluminum’s height adjustment feature can help seniors with limited movement eliminate the need for overreaching. The multifunctional, adjustable table comes available in four powder-coated finishes and effortlessly glides under a chair or sofa, pulling right up to where you need it most.

It is simple, yet features a sleek architectural look with minimalistic elements. Functional and stylish at the same time, the laptop table is designed by Louis Lara and contains a hardwood veneer surface along with a die-cast steel and powder-coated aluminum base. Its lightweight construction makes this the perfect option for easily maneuvering—whether you’re warming up over morning coffee, recharging midday, or burning the midnight oil.

BDI’s versatile lineup of laptop, side, and c-tables are always on hand wherever you work, play, or relax. Available in four unique finishes, you are sure to find one that matches your style!

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