Big Box Aging-In-Place – Amplifying the Message!

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I had a colleague share a URL with me by email this week, which took me to a web page for Lowe’s touting products for better accessibility and Universal Design.  My initial reaction was a mixed bag of feelings, but upon further reflection I find myself more excited about this when I compare the pros vs. cons.

Initially I felt concerned about the “BIG BOX” getting into the industry space I’ve worked so hard to establish my own company website at Empowering The Mature Mind and our parent company and architecture firm ADM Architecture in the Seattle area as a national thought leader and industry expert on Aging-in-Place and better accessibility in our homes and communities.  I was flashing images of the WALMART crushing the “mom and pop” retail store scenario.  But then I took a step back, and considered the potential positive – the  LEVERAGE that size can bring to the conversation, especially in the vein of all the passionate (but un-billable) time I spend EDUCATING the public on the topic.

Although the term “Aging in Place” is well know inside of our industry under the umbrella of professionals that provide services related to Universal Design, Accessible Design, ADA compliance in commercial buildings, “Visit-ability”, NORC’s (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities), etc. the public is still almost completely unaware of the term Aging-in-Place as a consumer population.  I speak publicly on the topic at least once per month to rooms varying in size from 25 to 250+, and have for the last 3 years.  It’s rare that I find someone in the audience that had already heard the term outside of my presentation.  We are passionate about our advocacy, so we keep pushing to educate the nation about this term that 89% of people polled by AARP say they want, which is to remain in their own home for the remainder of their life, or at least for as long as is possible.

Therefore, I have opted to consider the VALUE and AMPLIFICATION that a Big Box store can provide in educating a nation, and our builder/developers, about the complete inadequacy of our current single family housing stock to accommodate the changing needs (and resulting pressure) that the Silver Tsunami of Baby Boomers turning 65 years old now at a rate of 10,000 people PER DAY will put on that existing stock of suburban homes in the U.S. (which by the way are now 2/3 “empty nested”).

Lowe’s can’t do what I do.  Lowe’s can’t do what ADM Architecture does for the client.  Products are the start of the process of exposure about the possibilities of successfully staying in your own home longer, safer, and happier.  There are some amazing new products that are leading the way.  The contractor is the end of the process, providing the construction and installation of the products, on site at the home project.  I am the BRIDGE to SUCCESS, as a CAPS “Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist” and a licensed architect.

DESIGN and PLANNING is the KEY to SUCCESS.  The LISTENING a professional designer does, bringing all the players and facets together for a client-specific solution that considers all the wants, fears, and desires to fruition for a client and their entire family, in a complete design that will work for that person and their own needs, abilities, limitations, and resources – that’s the KEY to BRIDGING the products to the finished installation.  Lowe’s can’t do that.  The contractor isn’t professionally trained and licensed do that in the same the way we are, big picture design-wise, related to layout, flow, lighting, materials, transitions, fixtures, colors and textures – the psychology and physiology of the built environment experience and how it relates specifically to each individual and their own circumstances.  ADM Architecture is that critical part of a successful design & construction team solution for “Aging-in-Place”.

So go ahead LOWE’s, use your megaphone.  Amplify the message of EDUCATING the nation about AGING-IN-PLACE.  We’ll be here to help assemble the team when the clients are ready to accept the ideas about the massive emotional and financial savings that truly comes from PLANNING AHEAD for success with this new industry term in residential housing that will be expanding exponentially for the next 2-3 decades and beyond, “Aging-in-Place”.

 

 



Photo Credits:
Mom & Pop Shop – http://sorethumbmarketing.com/2013/05/21/user-experience-event/ 
Drawer Dishwasher – http://www.lowes.com/pd_383513-45535-DD24DCX7_4294937007%2B4294787044__?productId=3623994&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FgoToProdList%3Dtrue%26Ns%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo=Yes 
Bathroom Remodel – http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/universal-design/universal-design-features-for-bathroom/#.
Megaphone – themyndset.com 

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5 thoughts on “Big Box Aging-In-Place – Amplifying the Message!
  • janeAnne says:

    Aaron- Excellent piece- and I followed right along with your thinking and conclusions. I’m sharing this post with my readers. Thanks for tackling this issue.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Jane, and YOU keep doing the important and highly valuable work YOU are doing as well!!! Thanks for all that you bring to the conversation!

  • Andrew Pick says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Maybe the awareness problem is not so much about aging at home but with the vernacular itself. Aging in Place as an expression is almost too generic, whereas Aging at Home may be considered too limited. Family Caregiving is similarly hindered by a lack of personal identification in that most family caregivers consider themselves devoted sons or daughters rather than caregivers, a concept most associate with paid professionals.
    Oldernotold.com is a Canadian website launching next month with a mandate to streamline the overwhelming amount of online resource data directed at caregivers and care recipients. A search query on Home Care Services for Canadian Seniors for example, generates over 50 million results! Substitute Aging In Place for Home Care and you get fewer than 300,000.
    Clearly, terminology is important on a number of levels. If we can attract visitors by promoting an attitude associated with an era, (boomers arriving at 65 have a new category to belong to: The Third Age) we can deliver both information and educational messaging about a whole array of caregiving services from home renovation to cloud based remote communication. The key of course is to get the intended audience to identify with the appropriate vernacular. Thank you for your contribution to this effort.
    sincerely,
    Andrew Pick

    • admin says:

      Andrew, Thanks for the comments and your own insightful commentary on the issue. There is definitely much discussion on the “VOCAB” of aging and ageism. Thanks for the heads up about OlderNoTold.com and the information they’ll be providing. Stay in touch and keep us in the loop, thanks!

  • Johnf224 says:

    I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for posting. He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect. by Cicero.

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