Universal design (UD) isn't just for the elderly or the permanently disabled. As Americans age, they're beginning to realize that their homes need to accommodate future life changes. Consumers are more cognizant today of the benefits of a universally designed home, but they may not realize it can be beautiful as well as functional. Therein lies an opportunity for builders to open up a dialogue with customers about UD, showing them how it will facilitate aging in place without sacrificing aesthetics.
Rick Gross of Estes Builders, Sequim, Wash., says more clients have accepted the fact that provisions need to be made for the future. "Everyone realizes they're going to need an accessible home someday, and undoubtedly it's going to happen sooner than they would like," says Gross.