From the Kennebec Journal:
Accessibility and Universal Design
The next biggest movement in home design is implementing features that improve accessibility. Twenty-five percent of America's population of more than 300 million are Baby Boomers - people born during the post-World War II years of 1946 to 1964. The last of the Baby-Boom population will reach age 65 in the year 2029. By that time, the Baby-Boom population is projected to be only about 16 percent of the total population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 there will be 70 million Baby Boomers over the age of 75. The median age will increase from 35.5 in 2000 to a peak of 39.1 in 2035. As the Baby Boomers age, home design will need to adapt.
Twenty percent of home builders expect new construction to embrace aging in place with more universal access in new homes, reports the NAHB. Both the AIA and NAHB note that age-friendly features don't have to be institutional. Simple changes like grab bars, floating vanities that allow for wheelchair access and wider doorways make a big impact on accessibility.
One of the biggest changes in design noted by the AIA comes in the way of showers. "Curbless" showers that are easily accessed by those with limited mobility are finding their way more and more into homes.
Another trend in home showers are doorless showers or "wet bathrooms." Rather than create a separate shower unit, more homes have showers without doors that blend seamlessly into the space.
And while many of these features are green in nature, the survey also found that people still like comfort and convenience. Radiant heated floors scored high as well as linen/storage closets.