“Bigger is not always better when it comes to Universal Design and aging in place,” says Emens. “Comfortable sink depths of 8" with a faucet that has a flexible hose for large pots work better for mature consumers. A sleek pull-out or pull-down faucet combined with a lower-depth sink makes for less lifting and bending – while losing no functionality.”
Rodenbeck says, “We consider the needs of our consumers at every age to make sure our products and technologies are easy to use.” He cited Brizo’s SmartTouch Technology, which allows for turning the faucet on or off with a tap anywhere on the faucet, as being suited for those with mobility issues or difficulty in reaching a faucet handle.
Keeping future needs in mind has led to a rise in some products, such as pull-down faucets and pot fillers, manufacturers say. Emmons says that pull-down faucets continue to grow in popularity, at the expense of stand-alone faucets with side sprays. Pull-downs must have spray engines that are easy to toggle between spray and stream modes, and handles should be large enough to be easy to grasp, he adds.
There can be an emotional component when planning for a future that includes future challenges, too, says Rottinghaus. “I feel there’s something that happens emotionally when we as adults are forced to plan for circumstances that we don’t really want to face – inevitable challenges for living in our current homes safely, comfortably and, most importantly, independently,” she states. “Elkay has a full portfolio of sinks and faucets that are not only ADA-compliant, but are also elegantly designed to accommodate limitations. Shallower depths, off-set drains for side-mounted faucets and more are part of the adaptation of the looks/styles we enjoy today, but adjusted for ease of use by all, regardless of physical state. Perhaps that’s a better outlook – creating environments that can be enjoyed by all.”