OKEMOS, MI--(Marketwired - Apr 15, 2015) - Manufactured homes built to adapt to people at all levels of health and age, known as universal design, are popular in other states but hasn't taken off in Michigan quite yet.

As Byron Stroud of Champion Home Builders, Troy, Michigan, sees it, the market for universal design in manufactured homes will continue to grow as the population continues to age. In 2013, 15 percent of Michigan's population was 65 and over, nationwide it was 14 percent.

"We know our population is getting older and that those people are remaining more active," Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) board member Stroud said. "People want to avoid the features of a 'handicapped' home. They want to live in homes with features that are safe, hassle-free, convenient and efficient."

Examples of universal design features include wider exterior and interior door frames and hallways for easier navigation; raised electrical outlets and lowered light switches and levered-styled closet and door handles. Other instances of universal design are bathroom and kitchen sinks with knee space beneath for convenient access for wheelchair users and variable-height countertops. Universal design bathrooms typically include curbless showers complete with single-lever, detachable and adjustable shower heads and taller toilets seats.

"With what you can spend completely retrofitting an existing home with universal design, you can purchase a brand new one," Stroud said. "Universal design is here and now, and the demand and accessibility is only going to increase."

"There are ways to modify a manufactured home to make it more accessible for an older or physically challenged owner," says Barry Bernath, partner at Capitol Supply and Service of Michigan. According to Bernath, one of their most requested products is a larger size shower pan for retrofitting the popular garden tub with a walk-in shower. Shower and bathroom grab bars and illuminated "rocker-style" light switches are also easy-to-do updates to help keep someone in his or her home longer and happier.

Seniors aren't the only people requesting quality homes with universal designs. Many disabled American veterans are also in the market for affordable homes featuring universal design elements that can accommodate their rehabilitation.

"These homes can be built," said Stroud. "They are available. People just need to ask."

For more information, contact Michigan Manufactured Housing Association at www.michhome.org; or call 517-349-3300. 

Contact Information:

Gretchen A. Monette
Agency: All Seasons Communications
Phone: 586-752-6381