At a recent party I found myself discussing 'aging-in-place'... something that wouldn't have likely happened even 10 years ago because people weren't often thinking in those terms. Now, Baby Boomers are becoming much more aware as they witness their parents age... and many are planning to do things differently as they age themselves.
Even younger buyers are more conscious of design features that make it easy for people of all ages and physical abilities to visit or live in a home... the basis of Universal Design.
In the words of architect Gene Nicolelli, Universal Design can best be described as a holistic approach that shapes environments so they may be used by as many people as possible, regardless of age, ability, or circumstance, without discrimination and have lifetime value.
Existing homes can be modified using these design characteristics... but if you are thinking about building a new home check out Aging-in-Place House Plans by Nicolleli Architects... even won a Best of 50+ Housing Award!
Don't make the mistake of thinking these designs are just for 'old people'... universal design is also great for young families (think navigating strollers, open space for families to live, work and play together)... people with physical disabilities... and everyone else! Univsersal design simply equates to good design, accessible for all.