Boomer issuesReal Estate February 18, 2010

Universal Design or "Aging In Place"-Find Out More At The Seattle Home Show

“Aging in place?” Yes, we’re all aging, even as we just stand in place, but “aging in place” is really about growing older safely and comfortably in the familiar surroundings of your home.  Since no one gets out of “here” without aging first, except Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this post is for all us,  our friends, family, parents, etc.   Even if you’re a twenty something today, you’ll be thinking about these issues sooner for family members and, later, for yourself. Some boomers are now in their mid-60’s, so it’s definitely time for both boomers and their families to think about where the boomer generation wants to live comfortably and safely.  So listen up, it won’t cost you anything.

Aging in place has a number of different and similar names, such as universal design, barrier-free living or accessible design.

universal design boils down to making housing spaces and commonly used features more accessible to the broadest range of occupants.

Universal design works not just for the aging, but comfortably for everyone, hence the design qualities are “universal.”  The person navigating a front stoop with a baby carriage would benefit from a level threshold, just as someone who has difficulty walking, which is the beauty of universal design.

Easy, level home entry

Level Entry-Universal Design

Universal designed entryway

Completely level entry which works for everyone

Dwell Magazine had a good post explaining Universal Design concepts. It’s great to see such a “hip” magazine promoting Universal Design.

Would you like to learn more about aging in place from some local experts?

If you attend next week’s  Seattle Home Show, Emory Baldwin, Mike Vowels and Tom Minty will be presenting two seminars at the show, together with Andrea Petzel of the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development.  Their talk is about “Backyard Cottages: A Sustainable Approach to Adding Housing Capacity,” using a universally designed backyard cottage for changing family needs.

Two presentations will be given one on Tuesday, February 23rd at 12:30 PM, and then again on Saturday, February 27th at 11:30 AM.

You’ll also find him on Seattle Home Show’s Idea Street.

Emory Baldwin is something of an expert on Universal Design. AARP and the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) recognize great universal design by picking 10 nicely crafted universal design features/homes/buildings each year. Emory Baldwin has been noticed again for the great universal design elements of his own home.  ZAI, Inc,  Mr. Baldwin’s firm is front and center with universal design.  Since he is an expert in the field, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the topic.