Post Submitted by: Häfele America
Whether you prefer to admit it or not, you’ve aged. And you continue to. Even as you read this. And the same is true for the populations flocking to multifamily units. In fact, the ease of access, lack of exterior maintenance and included amenities have equated to a strong rise in aging populations making multifamily units their preferred, new home.
In an effort to accommodate this population, you’ve likely heard many in the industry talk about Universal Design. Many hear this term and shudder as they think they need to upset their designs by adding very coldly designed and strictly functional, utilitarian contraptions you might normally see in hospitals or continuing care facilities. True Universal Design actually just means the space is designed in such a way that people can possibly age longer in their homes and offers conveniences which people of practically any age or ability could easily use or benefit from. There are a lot of great products out there which add functionality and bring value to the space and living experience.
Do You See What I See?
The addition of LED lighting systems such as Häfele’s Loox line is an attractive addition to almost any area of the unit. As we age, our eyesight deteriorates and we need more light to do everyday tasks. From being able to evenly and efficiently brighten countertops to the insides of drawers, cabinets and closets, Loox is entirely plug and play. Motion and infrared switching options make can even eliminate the need for wall switches. Additionally, peace of mind can be found in items such as light sensitive, motion-activated plinth lights which can easily be installed in kitchen or bathroom toe kicks and stay on for a period of four minutes—just enough time to do what you need to do in either space.
Let the Culinary Adventures Continue
From a Universal Design perspective, the kitchen offers tons of opportunity. Base cabinets—and specifically blind corners—can be updated to include pull-out pantry units which mean your clients will never have to spend another moment crawling on the floor and hunting for casserole dishes. Upper cabinets can include sleekly designed products such as the iMOVE Pull Down Unit which allows you to bring the contents of your cabinets to you by simply pulling a handle. Bakers will love items such as our Appliance Lift which reduces countertop clutter while ensuring no one ends up as a baking statistic.
Be Comfortable in the Most Comfortable of Spaces
Adding grab bars to areas surrounding toilets and in showers and baths just makes good sense. And while safety is of primary concern in restroom areas, comfort is important too. HEWI grab bars from Häfele are offered in a variety of colors to match any design and are specially coated to ensure they are warm to the touch which is pretty fantastic—especially if you’ve ever felt the shock of grabbing one that’s cold.
Reach Better, Store Better
By their very nature, closets often require a lot of reaching in an effort to put away or organize. To help alleviate some of that stress and potential for injury, the addition of a product like Häfele’s Closet Pull Down (available in both mechanical and motorized versions) means clothes can be easily grabbed when needed and stored when you don’t. These solutions are also a great addition for laundry rooms as well.
In the long run, incorporating Universal Design into your multifamily projects ensures that all clients—regardless of their age and ability—will be able to live in and enjoy their spaces for longer periods of time. And that’s certainly something to think about.