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Innovative, universal design with Panasonic Barrier-Free Interior Door Systems

By 2031, more than one fifth of Canadians and Americans are expected to be 65 years or older. This major demographic shift is already influencing how professionals in the housing market think about interior design. Accessibility, ergonomics and inclusivity are poised to play an even greater role in mainstream product development, moving from “nice to have” squarely into the “must have” column. The concept of universal design, a notion that our living spaces can and should be accessible to people of all ages, sizes and abilities, is both powerful and timely.

More universal design is needed in North American homes

Only 6% of U.S. homes are presently considered accessible, which contrasts sharply with the 15% of households that include at least one disabled person. In Canada, 10% of the population has a physical disability and 33% of seniors have mobility issues. Looking at these numbers, it is apparent that the housing market needs a larger inventory of accessible homes, a need that is only going to grow more acute as the population ages. Widespread adoption of a universal design approach to housing has the potential to make life easier for millions of people across North America, especially seniors.

According to a recent survey done in Canada, 86% of urban baby boomers want to live in their home as long as possible. Many seniors can easily live in place if their home includes universal design features that remove common barriers within the living space, increasing their mobility. But what kinds of accessible, barrier-free solutions are available to North American seniors? Who is applying universal design principles to improve their quality of life?

Panasonic is a global leader in universal design

Thanks to our long track record of developing innovative, accessible products for the competitive Japanese housing market, Panasonic is uniquely qualified to offer proven solutions. The founder of Panasonic believed that homes are the foundation of people’s lives. Since 1958, we have placed this idea at the core of our corporate culture by adhering to a “Better Life, Better World” philosophy. Informed by our values, and eager to share universal design expertise developed in Japan—where seniors make up 29% of the population—we have brought our unique line of barrier-free interior doors to the North American market.

Universal design applied to interior doors

Panasonic universal doorway systems enable homeowners to manipulate their living space as needed without making significant modifications. We have engineered our lightweight hinge doors and barrier-free sliding door systems for maximum accessibility, making them a great choice for seniors. Panasonic hinge doors may be ordered with two distinct types of accessibility-enhancing hardware: ADA handles with convenient push-pull functionality and 180-degree hinges for the widest possible doorway opening, permitting walkers and wheelchairs to easily pass through. Our sliding door systems are particularly helpful for subdividing existing spaces, perhaps to create privacy for live-in help or, in the case of multigenerational households, to accommodate aging parents. The smooth operation of these doors is achieved with a synchronized multi-panel slide and barrier-free magnetic guide with no floor-level obstructions to trip over.

Innovative, lightweight door construction

Panasonic interior doors are a product of lightweight engineering technology that forms laminated lumber around a reinforced frame and honeycomb core. This innovative design reduces material consumption and improves indoor air quality (IAQ), with less VOC released into the home.

Available in several attractive designer styles, our interior doors have wrapped edges that achieve a solid wood look at much lower cost than real wood. The doors are easy to clean and never require staining or finishing of any kind. Panasonic uses advanced electron beam surface coating technology to render surfaces water resistant, stain resistant and scratch resistant, with a matte finish that is smooth to the touch and provides antibacterial protection.

Each door has a built-in vapor barrier to protect against damage from humidity. Engineered for humidity levels in Japan, which are typically quite high, Panasonic interior doors have a relative humidity tolerance up to 85%, making them great for bathrooms and laundry rooms. Thanks to the advanced engineering technology used in the manufacturing of our interior doors, we are able to offer up to a 5-year warranty against warping.

Panasonic universally designed interior doors come with all equipment, hardware and instructions, making for an easy installation. We hope you’ll consider them for your next accessible design project.