One of the basic principles of universal design, also called “ageless design,” is that it makes homes more practical and safer for everyone — not just the elderly or people with limited mobility. Even if you’re not a professional designer, you can certainly incorporate this smart thinking into your own home. If you’re remodeling or simply adding a few upgrades, be sure to keep universal design features in mind. Here are some simple (and great!) ideas from HouseLogic for getting started:
Replace doorknobs with lever-style handles. Doorknobs require lots of dexterity and torque to open; with levers you simply press and go. Imagine an emergency situation when everyone, including small kids, needs to exit fast: A lever handle is a safe, foolproof way to open a door. Levers are also attractive, and can contribute to the value of your home. A standard interior passage door lever in a satin nickel finish costs about $20; you’ll pay $25 to $30 for a lockable lever set for your bath or bedroom.
Replace toggle light switches with rocker-style switches. Rocker switches feature a big on/off plate that you can operate with a finger, a knuckle, or even your elbow if necessary (great if you’re carrying a laundry basket or bags of groceries!). Rocker switches are good-looking, too. Conventional toggle switches get dirt and grime embedded in them after a couple of years; no such problems with rocker switches! You’ll pay $2 for a single-pole rocker switch, up to $10 for multiple switch sets.
Anti-scald devices for your bathroom prevent water from reaching unsafe temperatures. An anti-scald shower head will reduce water flow to a trickle if the water gets too hot. An anti-scald faucet device replaces your faucet aerator and also reduces hot water flow.
Motion sensor light controls add light when and where you need it. They come in a variety of styles and simple technologies. Just stick plug-in sensors into existing receptacles, then plug your table or floor lamps into them. When the sensor detects motion, it turns on the light.
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