Multifamily Renovation Trend: Universal Design for Aging Renters

universal design bathroom

Zero threshold shower design

By the year 2030, there will be 72.1 million older people in the U.S., estimated to comprise 19% of the population. This demographic shift is sure to affect the multifamily housing industry, and smart developers are already meeting the demand using principles of universal design.

What is universal design?

Simply put, universal design aims to build spaces that are accessible to as many people as possible. Instead of building a limited number  of handicap accessible apartments with add-ons like grab bars and special door knobs, what if all apartments had accessibility features integrated into the design in such a way that you wouldn’t even notice at first glance? Not only is this approach more attractive, but it also provides a more user-friendly end product by integrating accessibility right from the start.

Universal design features for apartments

Many of the changes that make an apartment accessible can easily be done when included right from the start, with little to no extra cost or effort. For instance, simply making doorways wider will allow for easier access to a person in a wheelchair. Other features that are especially relevant to aging apartment residents with arthritis and mobility issues include:

  • Lever door handles which require less wrist action to open 
  • Rocker light switches
  • Touch-open latches on cabinets
  • Touch technology faucets that start and stop with a bump
  • Walk-in showers with no threshold
  • Drawer-style appliances
  • Adjustable height counters

If you are repositioning a multifamily property and want to make sure you are not excluding the older demographic, consider adding universal design features during the apartment remodeling process. Contact PMR today to learn more about our apartment renovation and construction management services to help you keep your multifamily investment going strong.

Photo via Houzz

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