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We appreciate your interests in Universal Design, a global movement of inclusive design practice initiated at NC State University College of Design. The Center for Universal Design is currently not active due to funding challenges. We are working to revive the Center, hopefully in the near future. We are unable at this time to provide assistance to your design inquiries.

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Some people are born with a disability. Moreover, throughout life, all people experience changes in their abilities. With foresight and action, they can forestall or prevent some kinds of changes, and remedy others. However, certain changes, such as alterations in eyesight around middle age, are nearly universal, and others, such as accidental injury to a leg, cannot be foreseen. Changes may occur at any age and may be temporary or permanent. Some may be more severe than others. They may take place gradually because of aging or suddenly because of trauma. There may be a reduction in hearing, a loss of vision, or a decline in sense of smell. Sense of touch and dexterity (skill with the hands and the fingers) may diminish, or strength and flexibility in the arms and the legs may lessen. Mobility and agility may become limited. Balance and coordination may present challenges. Even cognition, "the act or process of knowing including both awareness and judgment" may be affected.

Often, problems occur in combination. For example, both diminished hearing and low vision are not unusual in an elderly person. Further, when one ability diminishes, it may affect another, especially a closely related one. For example, loss of sense of touch may affect dexterity. Such problems can have significant implications for carrying out routine activities around the home. The problems and their implications need not prevent people from enjoying life and independent living for many more years, however. Basic home modifications and well-designed products can facilitate independent living and privacy. They can save time, promote ease of use, and offer convenience. They can add to a home's safety too.

Home Modifications and Products for Safety and Ease of Use suggests numerous modifications and products that can help with various problems. Most of the suggestions address mild- to moderate-level problems, which are more typical than severe ones. For example, more suggestions apply to low vision than to total blindness, more to hearing impairment than to profound deafness.

The descriptions of likely issues, the discussions of implications for home activities, and the many suggestions are not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, they are meant to alert consumers, family members, friends, rehabilitation and remodeling industry professionals, and others to possible issues and related options.

Click here for a survey of funding sources for home modifications.(Coming Soon)

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