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Is your home Visitable or Livable?

What is it and why does it matter? Each has a technical definition related to property accessibility and each is important for personal well being. We are social creates who benefit from human interaction, your mental and emotional health (your sanity) depends on being around others, which you cannot if you or they cannot get around easily.

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How can I improve home accessibility?

This picture is an accessibility nightmare, a hill with lots of steps. Might as well be Mount Everest for anyone who isn't upright and able to climb.

Accessibility into your home starts at the street, regardless of how well designed your space is on the inside. You must first get TO the door before you can enter THROUGH the door, an important consideration for a home's livability as well as visitability by others. Common sense, right? 

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What is Universal Design?

Easiest way to remember Universal Design is "UD = EZ for the most people". Commercially, Universal Design, abbreviated UD, has been around for decades (e.g. Velcro, electric toothbrush, automatic doors to retail stores) but North Carolina State's College of Design first introduced UD for the home in 1997.

I begin this series of posts about Universal Design for the home (also referred to as "barrier-free living") by defining as features, methods and applications easily used by any person of any age or ability. Think kid-friendly or flexible enough to be accomplished or enjoyed either seated or standing. For example, most people can get through a wide doorway or hallway, or enter a shower or doorway without a raised threshold. Most people can use motion-activated lights or a lever door handle.

If you remember ONLY ONE thing, recall UD = EZ for every aspect of a property both inside and outside.

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