Stumbled into this reading after seeing a relative struggling to move around the house on her own. She's diagnosed with cancer. Her body is so frail that she can't even move on her own without assistance. To do the activities of daily living, becomes a big challenge for her. Most houses in this area, have steps to go up and down, very inflexible layout and difficult places to reach.
A typical rambler house (in this area) just don't give the flexibility to live independently forever, in my opinion. Which brings me to the first time I saw universal design implemented was at the recent Solar Decathlon competition.
The Interlock House caters to older adults who want to live independently, economically, and sustainably in their own home while retaining the security of an established neighborhood and support network. To appeal to this demographic, the house incorporates numerous features designed to prolong the number of years that a person can live independently and comfortably. The house features universal design, with no steps or difficult places to reach. This ensures uninterrupted ease of use and compensates for the sensory and mobility losses associated with aging. Certain features, such as the enclosed sun porch and ventilation, may help individuals with certain chronic conditions. For instance, arthritis sufferers may benefit from the therapeutic warmth of sitting on the sun porch.
Why is it builders don't push for this kind of design? The target market is there. Waiting for something to happen. Not all wants to live in a retirement home when they get older. Most people, if they can, will postpone the move and stay in their house until the time come (that forces them) to downsize.
A good reading to start with..Universal Design in Housing