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Aging in Place Gains Momentum at MedtradeNovember 14, 2011
ATLANTA - Two of this year’s conference highlights were the Medtrade Accessible Home and Retail Design Center, both of which were presented in partnership with The VGM Group’s Accessible Home Improvement of America division. With an aging population increasing looking to stay at home, industry watchers believe that creative modifications to existing structures will only gain in popularity.
The problem, says Louis Tenenbaum, CAPS, CAASH, a Maryland-based independent living strategist, is often interfacing with the construction industry. Health professionals, he says, do not talk in drawings, sketches, plans, and permits, but construction folks do.
For example, if an occupational therapist writes that a curbless shower, hand-held shower head, and four grab bars are needed, there is a gap of design for the contractor to fill that need. “Discharge planning starts at most a week before someone is going home,” says Tenenbaum, author of Aging in Place 2.0 Rethinking Solutions to the Home and Care Challenge. “That is not enough time for designers and contractors to help the family make informed decisions, secure a budget, get permits, order special materials, and schedule the work to have it done before the client returns home.”
In an ideal world, the construction industry and home owners would prepare well in advance to preserve independence, remodel their home for safety, and make it easy for themselves and caregivers through the concept of universal design. “At minimum, the health care system and all other people involved should start the process at injury or diagnosis, or at the beginning of extensive rehab,” says Tenenbaum, founder/president of the Aging in Place Institute. “Even if people are not using a wheelchair it will be safer and better.
March 20-21, 2013
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV