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Universal Design Solutions for Storage and Organization


Bring universal design into North American Homes with our Storage and Organization Solutions

Within the next ten years, seniors are expected to exceed 20% of the population in the U.S. and Canada, a major demographic shift that will have far-reaching consequences for both countries. The changing needs of our aging population will require us to rethink accessibility, ergonomics and inclusivity in the housing industry. By applying a universal design philosophy to our living spaces, we can make homes more accessible and easier to use for everyone, regardless of age, size or ability.

Universal design can help seniors

Throughout North America, there is a general lack of adequate housing for people of all ages with disabilities. When you consider that 15% of U.S. households have someone with a disability but only 6% of homes qualify as accessible, you can appreciate how universal design could be used to improve quality of life for millions of people, seniors included. 

More than 90% of seniors live in private dwellings, raising the question of how exactly to serve them in the housing market going forward. Aging in place is very important to seniors, with 86% of urban baby boomers in Canada expressing the desire to live in their home as long as possible. To give them the independence and dignity that they deserve, we need to design living spaces in a way that will help seniors meet their lifestyle goals and stay in their homes as long as they want.

Fall prevention designed into every room

Applying universal design principles, we can create safe, ergonomic living spaces that reduce the risk of falling for seniors with mobility issues. Sadly, one in three seniors will fall this year. Many of these falls will occur at home. When seniors are not injured by a fall, the fear of a repeat occurrence may cause them to become less active, leading to a decline in physical fitness that increases their risk of falling again. After being hospitalized for a fall, one-third of seniors are admitted to long-term care. To minimize fall risk, we must ensure that rooms are free of clutter, with all tripping hazards removed. Setting up accessible storage areas for regularly used items eliminates the need for seniors to climb step stools or perform other risky movements. Thoughtful interior design can prevent falls in the home and help seniors live in place longer.

Panasonic has universal design solutions

For insight on how to facilitate living in place, we should look to Japan, where seniors already constitute 29% of the population. Panasonic has spent years developing a slate of innovative, award-winning housing solutions for Japanese seniors, positioning the company as a global leader in universal design. Our founder’s belief that homes are the foundation of people’s lives has, in fact, motivated Panasonic to pursue its “Better Life, Better World” philosophy since 1958. Backed by hard-won experience in the competitive Japanese market, and focused on improving mobility and health for everyone, Panasonic is now able to support North American seniors with a range of inclusive storage and organization solutions for living well in place.

Storage and organization through a universal design lens

Our practical, ergonomic products are utilized by accessible designers, renovators, general contractors and interior design professionals for their supreme usability and efficient use of vertical space in the home.
The Panasonic soft-down shelf brings items in high cupboards down to counter level so they can be accessed from a sitting position. Each unit has a built-in, adjustable counterweight to ensure that it can be lowered and raised with a minimum of force on the handle. Ergonomically engineered with our proprietary Digital Human simulation technology, the soft-down shelf is ideal for kitchen organization and laundry room applications.
We also offer the hidden pull-down shelf, a clever storage solution designed to make use of the hard-to-reach space at the back of a cupboard. This accessible drop-down unit features a spring-assisted mechanism and position lock for smooth, convenient operation. The easy-to-install pull-down shelf works equally well for new builds and renovations, ensuring that valuable cabinet space in the kitchen or laundry room is actually usable.
Another practical solution for reducing clutter and optimizing laundry room organization is Panasonic’s retractable laundry rod. This lightweight, energy-saving design combines accessible features with space efficiency to naturally air-dry clothing. The strong, extendable steel laundry rod comes in ceiling- and wall-mounted models that can easily be deployed and retracted from a seated position.
The laundry room isn’t the only place in the home where Panasonic solutions can help reclaim precious floor space and eliminate tripping hazards. Using an ergonomically designed rotating shoe rack from Panasonic, homeowners can organize their footwear on adjustable, space-saving shelves, keeping the floor barrier-free. Available in two sizes, our ABS steel shoe racks offer 360° rotation for unobstructed access to each pair.
In many households, closet organization is also an ongoing challenge, particularly during seasonal changeovers. Clothes hidden away in the back of a closet often remain unused. Panasonic’s rotating closet system with forward-facing rods enables homeowners to easily organize, efficiently store and comfortably retrieve their garments. Like all of the products discussed here, our rotating closets are manufactured exclusively in Panasonic facilities where they are tested to exacting standards, guaranteeing years of reliable service.