Giving You the Freedom to Live Safely in Your Home
Barrier-free living is adapting your home to be fully accessible to you. That is, making it free of barriers that may lead to injury or keep you from enjoying your home and aging with independence.
What Barrier-Free Looks Like
Barrier-free living requires applying barrier-free design to your home. It’s an approach that removes or replaces things in your home that keep you from using it as intended. Barrier-free design may include applying technology to your home, minor or major construction to certain areas of the home’s interior or exterior, even making changes to the interior design.
- Smarthome technology– Makes turning electronics and home environment systems (heating and cooling) on and off easier by using your voice, or smartphone, tablet, or computer
- Adding brighter lights– Improves visibility
- Ramps– Gives wheelchair access into and out of the home
- Chair lifts– Allows you to move from one level of the home to another without having to use stairs
- Lowering work areas and lightswitches– Brings counters and switches to an accessible level for the wheelchair-bound
- Railings– Sturdy railings along all steps or stairs, and in commonly wet areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms to reduce the risk of falling
- Widening hallways and doors– Allows easier access throughout the house when using a wheelchair, walker or cane
- Removing or shifting furniture– Opens up space in rooms and can put items like lamps within reach
Benefits of a Barrier-Free Home
Safety is the foremost reason for adapting your home to be barrier-free. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for adults 50+. In fact, one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year. When you reduce the barriers, you reduce the risk.
Living barrier-free allows you to stay in your current home and age-in-place. By making the appropriate additions or remodels, you may not have to consider a senior housing option or go through the process of selling the place you’ve called “home” for so long.
Universal design was adapted from the barrier-free concept. The difference is that universal design constructs a home from the outset to be fully accessible for everyone regardless of age, capabilities, or disabilities with a focus on aesthetics. If adapting your home to be barrier-free is not a task you wish to take on, buying a home made with universal design is an option. Your SRES® will assist you with finding the right universally designed home to meet your needs and budget as well as helping you sell your current home.