Livable Retirement Homes

Livable Homes – Universal Design Features

Features That Make Homes More Livable

These are things that make a home more livable, that is more comfortable, easier and safer for independent living. You can either buy a house with these features in a newer community or try home improvements while aging in place.

Either way, these features facilitates that make easier everyday living for occupants all ages, not just senior friendly. So every household sometimes has occupants which are either elderly, disabled either permanently or temporarily, expectant mothers, children or anyone who could benefit from having better home features.

A livable home can be a joy as well as just smart efficient living.

Make changes to your existing home now to facilitate Aging in Place or look for new homes that have these universal design features. You will have made a wise investment while improving your quality of living.

So what are these Universal Design features?

Whole House:
Access is important. Ground level entrance without having to climb steps
Wide doors for wheelchair access
Wide hallways and foyers
Level Floors – Eliminate threshold bumps
Master on main level.
Lever action door handles
Banisters on both side of stairs when more than two steps
door handle

Easy access to light switches
Rocker type light switches rather than flip type
Ample lightening inside and out
Lighting that is glare-free, energy efficient is safer & economical.
Energy efficient fluorescent ambient and task lighting
Large windows allow the use of natural daylight
Energy-Star approved light fixtures
Well lighted pathways

kichen facuet

Extra long hose on sink water sprayer so you can extend to fill up a cooking pot.
Single lever faucet for shower
Lower level micro-wave oven for easy access
Lower second sink
Cabinet with magnetic catches that open when pressed

shower facuet

Larger bathrooms
Tile with high anti-slipping rating
Open shower for easy access
Grab bars in the shower / bath able to hold 250 lbs
Bench for the shower
Single lever faucet for shower with handheld
Hand-held spray with a 5’ hose and on-off switch built into the handle.

Livable Communities

Retirement communities with livable homes are popular.

People need livable communities and a high quality of life. The attractiveness of older small towns and a scattering of newer developments demonstrate the appeal of certain characteristics. Lively downtown areas, streets designed for pedestrians as much as autos, a scale and pattern of development that allows us meet everyday needs by walking are all key factors in ensuring cities provide a high quality of life. Sierra Club

Universal Design

Universal Design is to be used by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or circumstance. The design for all or inclusive barrier free design and assistive technology. It makes good sense for retirees and everyone. There is a growing interest in universal design.

Principles of Universal Design include: Equitable use
Flexibility in use
Simple and intuitive
Perceptible information
Tolerance for error
Low physical effort
Size and space for approach and use

Center for Universal Design

“Housing is being transformed by an architectural and design movement called Universal Design, which promotes ease, safety and comfort, making housing accessible to everyone. Consumer demand for this type of housing is growing and is marketable. Upscale design and functional ease are incorporated into easy living features that increase usability by people of all ages, sizes, and abilities. Attractive rooms, cutting edge products and barrier free state of the art features are included in all types of universally designed housing from mansions to bungalows.

Universal design elements add value and convenience to your investment. Universally designed homes are more marketable and easier to sell!”


The EarthCraft program has been in Atlanta for five years. The association is conducting the pilot program with Southface Energy Institute Inc.

For a home to be certified as EarthCraft, the builder must submit a work sheet, follow a point system and allow inspection for EarthCraft certification once the building is complete.

The point system allows the builder some flexibility in how the EarthCraft home is constructed.

Tree conservation, soil erosion control plans, air sealing measures, water conservation measures and other energy-efficient designs all are given points that, when added up, can give a home the EarthCraft certification.

The Florida Green Building Coalition Inc. certified its first green community in Fort Meyers Florida. Colorado has a program, too. Other states green building resources.

Livable Homes Resources
Best Bath Systems
Visitable Homes
Universal Design
Universal Design Center
Livable Communities