EtMM talks “Aging In Place” w/ Mr. Louis Tenebaum

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Interview: w/ Mr. Louis Tenenbaum – May 23rd, 2012 

Listen now:

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About Louis Tenenbaum

louis tenenbaum

Having done his first “accessible remodel” in 1988, Mr. Tenenbaum is a valuable national resource for “Aging In Place”, and we truly enjoyed our interview with him, offering his expertise & insight into the industry – past, present, and future (where most of it is yet to come!)

In 2010 Louis wrote Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge, published by the MetLife Mature Marketing Institute.

We discussed the “systems dilemma” at a high level, and the challenges we face in our evolving infancy in the overall industry of “Aging In Place”.

We began with discussing the home, and how 95% of the houses in our country are BROKEN HOMES as they related to where the largest percentage of our population is heading for an age demographic.  From 1950 to 2040, the 85+ years old group, for example, will go from 0.5% to 5% of the population.  That’s a 10x increase!  The “baby boomers” are here, it’s being called the “Silver Tsunami” among other terms.  The homes need to adapt and change, nationwide (Louis is in Maryland, EtMM is based in the Seattle area).  The only home style that came close to working correctly for this age group, was the 50’s rambler “ranch” style home.  This home style was built on one level, and close to an “on grade” or “zero threshold / zero clearance” entry.  Although even those homes are still in need of a short ramp up to resolve the one step up for entry (created for height to ventilate the crawlspace area under the home), and are equipped with hallways and doors that are too narrow, and bathrooms / kitchens that aren’t truly considering the needs that are arising with in increase in age and decrease in physical abilities.

Beyond the home, we discussed the larger picture as well.  Although 89% of the 65+ year old demographic, as shared by AARP studies, are asking to “Age in Place”, there is a larger concern and question to address.  If we are happier, healthier, and live longer AT HOME, then how do we also address and resolve the “services” end of things?  Why would we remodel our homes to be more comfortable as we age, if the rest of our needs can’t REACH US at home?  There are a lot of developing services nationwide for “home health care”, and that is wonderful.  In our area of Seattle, we have companies like Home Instead, Right At Home, etc. just to name a few.  But there are a multitude of other needs and services that are required to be accessible from and for the home, before staying at home works well.  Transportation, medication management, and many others.  Technology is helping, and we’re excited about that – product R&D is “ahead of the game”, but the integration of the entire “systems solutions” is lagging behind.

That’s why we at EtMM are here to be your “Aging In Place” Coach, Consultant, and Mentor.  Louis is working on his own non-profit as well, The Aging In Place Institute, to help with the change between the current NEED, and the lack of DEMAND.  We have a marketplace, but the message has to be a collaborative one.  We have to be out educating people.  This includes the end-user client, but also(and probably more importantly) the lawmakers, the jurisdictions, the zoning and code creators that affect developers decisions.  This, Louis explains, is the bigger “ostrich in the room” vs. the client that doesn’t want to admit they are changing as they age and there is physical deterioration involved.  Unfortunately for the builder / developer, they still have a stigma that it “doesn’t pencil” or costs more.  This isn’t true but it’s an uphill battle, for now, to show that it not only doesn’t have to cost more, but it also would be beneficial to the buyer demographic in the 20-30 years ahead.  This is the challenge for Louis, EtMM and the “Aging In Place” educators to collaborate on, and tackle head on!

People want a turnkey solution, not parts to a puzzle that they need to figure out themselves how to put together.  Louis and EtMM point out in the interview how we don’t buy a steering wheel, some hub cabs, and upholstery when we want a new car to drive.  We want a TEAM, and a COMPLETE SOLUTION.  You buy a new car, and you want to get in, turn the key, and drive it off the lot.  That’s what we’re working toward.  A collaborative solution between many industries that serve the aging populations here in the U.S. and even abroad.  It’s a TEAM EFFORT, and we have to work together to create complete solutions that you can “drive off the lot”!

Contact Mr. Louis Tenenbaum and/or EtMM today, for your “Aging In Place” Coaching, Consulting, and solution needs!

Listen now:

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WEB:    Twitter: @louistenenbaum

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