How Does Aging In Place Sound To You?

by Jane Regan, HB Building Design

Is it just me, or does the industry wide designation “Aging in Place” just strike a funny chord with you, my fellow ‘boomers?’

During my recent attendance at the Peninsula ASID Chapter “Designing User Friendly Interiors for Aging in Place,” education training, presented by Dr. Wilma S. Hammett, FIFDA, most of the attendees, educated, beautiful, successful business women, a few good men, were fairly taken aback by the very specific natural physical aging process all of us will eventually experience. “Not me” outbursts were overheard, along with “Kill me now!” from several in the group as we began to underst see examples of how our vision, sensory perceptions, strength the degree the influence of ergonomics all will dramatically change as we our client base continue to age.

Statistically, the older generation is rapidly outnumbering the younger generation. The need to support this rapidly growing, higher net worth group with value-added design services that will allow them to enjoy a longer life in their dream homes is difficult to ‘sell’, yet extremely important to implement. The difficult “Sell” is, I believe, the bring.

Kicking around the idea yesterday, my husb, Bob, owner of Hammer Building, my favorite General Contractor on the Coastside, said, “Why don’t you call it Aging Comfortably?” I thought that had some merit, but it still had the Aging word in it, I think that’s the ‘objectionable’ part. So later on, I was talking with Susan Dr. Eric Shapira, of Aging Mentor Services, they said, “How about Designs for Easier Living?” Well that’s a little better. But the jury is still out. If you can think of something better, please email me your thoughts . I’ll publish them all next time.

And just to give you a few highlights & tidbits of info:

Top Home/Consumer Product Related Injuries for 65+ 2006 (*CPSC) 1. Stairs, Ramps, Floors
3. Chairs, Sofas, Sofa beds
5. Carpets
7. Stools, Ladders
9. Non Glass Doors or Paneling
10. Window, Door Sills, Frames

2. Flexibility in use
3. Perceptible Information
4. Size Space for Approach Use
5. Chair Design Fit
6. Furniture Stability, Shape Placement
7. Lighting
8. Glare
9. Color Color Contrast
10. Windows Window Covering

Now, there’s been quite a bit done in the bath industry, where I continue to do a great deal of work applying Universal Design, but as we exp to other rooms gain a deeper understing of clients with individual generational health issues as unique as their taste in their interiors, there will be a great deal more opportunity for us to creatively connect with the aging population make well designed spaces for ‘easier living.’

I look forward to engaging with you to build your easy living interior!