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How to broach universal design

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Many people don’t like to think of growing old, and the uncertainty that comes with age. Can you live at home? Should you? With the “Silver Tsunami”  crashing home as the Baby Boomers age, there are concerns with the elderly being able to live in their own homes. This represents a prime opportunity for savvy remodelers who can offer the clients value and knowledge about universal design.

But do people want to hear it? Daily 5  Remodel took a survey and found that remodelers most often ask, but the question needs to be delicately phrased. One remodeler who took the survey said: “I do not use the unfortunate expression ‘aging in place’ because I find very little graceful or complimentary associated with it. We ask questions and explore their needs, concerns and issues to help them determine what’s important for them to consider in making choices.”

Another one of Daily 5 Remodel’s survey respondents made the point that, with a perhaps misplaced sense of positivity, people don’t see themselves as needing any accommodations in their home: “When I asked them if THEY wanted univ. design features, the answer was always ‘no,’ but when I switched to asking, ‘Do you have any older relatives or friends who might benefit from accessible features?’ the response rate tripled.”

How do you as a remodeler guide your clients when thinking about universal design and aging in place? How do you highlight design features while gently emphasizing their usefulness in universal design? Do you see universal design and the aging population as a unique opportunity? Let us know in the comments!