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Universal Design – An Investment In Your Future

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 9.29.54 PMHealthcare providers offering rehabilitation services in the longterm care industry are noticing a new trend whereby patients experience a much shortened length-of-stay in facility care. It is a trend that many health insurance carriers greatly support. Ultimately, this directional change impacts people needing extended rehabilitation services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. More of these types of therapeutic services are being offered in the home. There are two primary reasons for this evolving movement: 1 – More people prefer to receive care in a home setting, where they feel more comfortable than in an institutional facility; 2 – Home health care costs can be significantly lower than those of facility care.

As the senior population rapidly increases at a rate of 10,000 people turning 65 years of age per day, the demand for services and costs will continue to escalate. What will happen if you find that your home no longer can accommodate your changing needs? Many people here in Hawaii may not be prepared to deal with the ramifications of that statistic. Dr. Jon Pynoos, a professor of gerontology at USC Andrus Gerontology Center, has noted that most houses were designed and built for people who would never grow up and never grow old – he labels them “Peter Pan houses.” Many older homes have steep stairs, inaccessible bathrooms, and dim lighting and lack the safety features that keep seniors from falling or injuring themselves.

A new concept called Universal Home Design is gaining strong momentum. Home builders report increased inquiries for products and renovations that support aging-in-place.

As real estate professionals, we see a surging demand in home sales for single level houses with open floor plans.

Senior homeowners are opting to move from large homes that have become challenging to maintain. Many of our customers are finding that the homes that served their purpose when they were raising their children and family are no longer suitable now that they are empty nesters and may be experiencing mobility challenges. The existing floor plan may be difficult to maneuver with bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor, narrow doorways, and other obstacles. Universal Design differs from ADA due to its focus on stylish and functional design features, thereby avoiding an institutional look.

Universal Home Design is an exciting new concept that also represents an investment in your future years. Understanding your options and making informed choices now is key to a successful plan and a lifestyle that you deserve.

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