Aging in Place Becomes Aging in Style
Attend the upcoming ProAging Meeting spotlight Universal Design
Experts discuss how the recently new phenomenon of Aging in Place has effected manufacturer’s designs and
Studio City, CA — According to an ASID survey of U.S. homeowners, most Americans (82%) want to
remain in their homes as they age, even if they should require assistance and care. Furthermore, it has
been documented that more than half (52%) of American homeowners age 45 and older are interested in
receiving information about remaining in their homes as they get older. While the topic of aging in place has
been a recent buzz phrase – delved into by shelter magazines nationwide and abroad – it is a relatively new
phenomenon; one that is gaining serious momentum, not only in the building industry, but amongst interior
designers and homeowners, as well.
“In the last five years homeowners have started to understand how important aging in place is,” says
Professor of Gerontology at California State University, Long Beach – Melanie Horn Mallers, P.H.D. “The
boomer generation especially doesn’t want to be called old. They do not want to live in the traditional
conception of a nursing home or assisted living facility as they grow older. They want to live in the comforts
of their own home, with pride, control and dignity; they want to maintain their youthfulness and this has more
than encouraged aging in place.”
Furthermore, Horn Mallers relays that the boomer generation is open to talking about the issues associated
with aging and they are willing to ask for assistance, as they know that this is crucial to enhancing their
quality of life.
So as the savvy boomer generation becomes interested in modifying their home to meet their needs, the
term aging in place has become synonymous with aging in style.
“We boomers don’t plan on quitting anytime soon,” said ASID member Pat Rowen in an article entitled, The
Boomer Boom is Coming. “We want it all: comfort, beauty, function, safety and style.”
And to give the boomer generation all that they want, numerous manufacturers have recently been pushing
the envelope with innovative, functional and stylish product designs, which enhance interiors rather than
transforming them into the stereotypical nursing home.
“Homeowners now realize that they need homes that will age with them,” says Larry Brodey, president of
JACLO® — a decorative hardware manufacturer who has struck recent gold with their Luxury Grab Bar
Collection. “The traditional home that serves you well when you are healthy won’t always take care of you
when you break a leg or hurt your back.”
To make the transition of aging in place easier on the eyes, JACLO has created a full decorative slate of
luxury grab bars, which come in seven styles and 16 finishes. Furthermore, they can customize finishes to
meet a homeowner’s preexisting fixtures. Their grab bars can also be outfitted with an adjustable slider,
which their line of handshowers can be attached to, allowing the user to sit (either on a bench or in a
wheelchair) to achieve a seamless and functional bathing experience.
“Aging in place products are crucial not only to the homeowner, but also to a caregiver or family member
who might visit the home on a frequent basis,” says Horn Mallers. “Helping an aging person can be
physically demanding especially if the right equipment is not installed.”
Horn Mallers relays that one of the most popular products purchased is the grab bar, however she also
mentions that raising toilet height, securing rugs, using hands-free faucets, replacing door knobs with levers
and lowering cabinet heights have been key modifications.
ALNO®, a high-end German kitchen manufacturer whose roots date back to 1927 — has revolutionized the
industry in recent years with their debut of the MyWay© line, which is composed of fittings and features that
allow ergonomics, flexibility and functionality to transform ease and comfort into an everyday reality. The
collection features swing-down interior features for easy access, base cabinets that rise up to meet the user
or wall units that lower down to load heavy plates and platters — not to mention elevated work stations,
retractable landings, height adjustable tables, fully accessible corner storage units and a cabinet dedicated
to the family pet with a tuck-away food and water bowl in the toe-kick. These are just a few of the wonders
that the MyWay© collection has created to make everyday life easier. Even more enticing, is that the line
has been marketed not just to boomers, but as a transgenerational product — translating that good design
and comfort has no age limit.
“Being able to decide where you want to live enhances dignity and maximizes self fulfilment,” says Horn
Mallers. “Boomers want their home to be functional so that they do not feel dependant on others. There is no
doubt that the market will keep up with their needs.”