Archive for aging-in-place

We call them the golden years – and they should be just that. This year, National Aging in Place Week takes place on October 15-21. It’s a week that’s focused on bringing families together to make the home a safer place for multi generational living. This week-long event was spearheaded by the National Aging in Place Council, a senior support network that brings together resources such as healthcare, financial services, and products to make independent living safe and comfortable. To kick off the week, we’re sharing the story of one determined senior that made her home a haven for aging in place.Here’s a sobering and unfortunately, all too real, bathroom safety fact: every 2.3 seconds, an adult 65 and older suffers a fall that can threaten their life, safety and ability to live independently. Jane B., a South Carolina homeowner and senior citizen, recently sought out a solution to avoid becoming part of the statistic. After a close call slipping in her hazardously slippery shower, she came across an ad for a walk-in tub which would answer her bath safety concerns. After a call to a reputable local renovation company, Metropolitan Renovations, Jane had a slip resistant American Standard Walk-In Tub installed… and the rest was history.

Well, that’s the short of it. Similar to the many seniors who live in their own homes, Jane had lived independently for many years and was determined to keep it that way. After all, the “Golden Years” are meant to be just that – a time to relax without the worry of preventable threats. One day last year, Jane fortuitously walked into her local home improvement store which offered American Standard Walk-In Tub options and would recommend a reputable installer to boot.

Metropolitan Renovations, a remodeling company that serves Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, installed Jane’s new Walk-In Tub and renovated her bathroom to address her safety concerns. As a certified Aging-In-Place specialist, Metropolitan Renovations also offers home modifications such as non-slip floor surfaces, wider doorways, grab bars and defined-edge countertops to accommodate the elderly or those that have limited mobility. After a short period, their experts had Jane’s old shower removed and replaced with a new Walk-In Tub with Jet and Air Massage options which provide relief for her fibromyalgia and arthritis.

With the addition of her new safety-minded renovation equipped with an American Standard Walk-In Tub, Jane now feels more secure when bathing and carries a new found sense of confidence in her surroundings. Now that’s aging gracefully.

Tips to prepare you or your parent’s home for aging-in-place:

  • Install lever door handles which are less challenging for arthritic hands
  • Grab bars – everywhere! Surrounding the bath, toilet, seating areas and more with a grab bar will add stability to those with poor balance
  • Right-Height Toilets simplify standing and sitting
  • Toss out or secure loose rugs which can be tripping hazards
  • Faucets with hot-limit safety stops prevent scalding in the bath or at the sink
  • Arrange furniture to eliminate obstructions
  • A Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) can put together a great plan for your home. To find one, check out the National Association of Homebuilders’ directory here

Follow us on Twitter to get more bathroom safety tips all week long! Start designing your ultimate safe and accessible bathroom here.

As the weather begins to warm, the Professor’s mind turns to happy thoughts of a favorite season: springtime bathroom remodeling season, of course. For those who are ready to change things up, the Professor is pleased to offer a few pointers regarding current bath design trends for inspiration.

The American Institute of Architects reported that through the end of 2011, homeowners continued to view the integration of water saving faucets, toilets, and showerheads as important components of their bathrooms. Water saving toilets and showerheads in particular used to get a bad rap for providing poor performance, but thanks to recent technological advances, saving water doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. American Standard’s H2Option, featuring powerful siphonic dual flushing action, and turbine technology-powered FloWise collection of showerheads are two notable examples of high performance, low flow products.

The transitional style is predicted to be the most popular look for bathroom fixtures according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2012 Style Report. This style, which walks the line between traditional and contemporary to create a modern yet classic look, is beautifully expressed by the elegant, sculptural Pyke collection of bath faucets by JADO.

Aging in place is also a top priority for many Americans, and incorporating universal design features into the home – especially in the bathroom – is a growing trend. And with luxury options like whirlpool, air bath, and combo massage features now available, installing a walk-in bath can feel like an indulgence rather than just preparing for old age.

White continues to be the most popular bathroom color scheme, and it’s a look the Professor finds especially attractive when complemented by wood furnishings with dark finishes like the espresso-colored hues available in the Porcher Solutions collection of modular bath furnishings.

Whether you’re just swapping in a new faucet or getting bold with colors and fixtures: go forth and remodel!

The growing “aging in place” segment of the remodeling industry has caught the Professor’s interest before, and now that the wise folks at Consumers Digest have weighed in on the current offerings of walk-in baths, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit the subject. Three different walk-in tubs from American Standard received recognition for their innovative features and the lifetime warranty protecting the door seal on every tub.

Wondering about the benefits of having a walk-in bath at home? Watch the video below.


Aging in Place with Grace Thanks to CAPS

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More and more Americans are choosing to spend their ‘golden years’ living independently in their own homes – a goal that is increasingly possible thanks to the growing number of products and remodeling professionals that are working to make homes more comfortable and accessible to aging adults. This field of interior design is growing so rapidly, in fact, that “CAPS,” or “Certified Aging in Place Specialist” has been created to train professionals in this relatively new design field.  The Professor recently sat down with Kalpesh Nanji, Director of Business Development at American Standard Brands and recent CAPS designee, to learn more about the program.

Kalpesh Nanji, Director of Business Development at American StandardCongratulations on earning your CAPS designation, Kal. Can you begin by telling us a bit more about what this means?

CAPS stands for Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist. The designation program includes three required courses, community service projects, and a commitment to continuing education. The program offers an overview of the skills required to help make homes more accessible for persons with disabilities, persons with progressive conditions, persons whose abilities have changed due to a fall, a stroke, or illness, and also persons who understand that their needs may change in the future and need safe and accessible solutions in their home.

Who created the CAPS program and why?

The program was organized by The Remodelers™ Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in collaboration with the NAHB Research Center, NAHB Seniors Housing Council and the AARP. These organizations agreed that the skills that professionals attain by completing the program would be essential to meet the needs of the 77 million Baby Boomers who will reach retirement age in the first years of the 21st Century. Homeowners can be confident that a remodeler with a CAPS designation has been fully trained to help them remain in their homes safely, independently, and comfortably throughout their maturing years, regardless of their income or physical ability level.

What sort of modifications can you make to a home for someone who wishes to “age in place”?

The bathroom is one room in the home where modifications are particularly important. Bathing can become more dangerous and uncomfortable because of the slippery surfaces involved. Many older adults also find it harder to climb in and out of a bathtub without assistance. This is where products like the Seated Safety Shower and Walk-In Baths can be a tremendous help in allowing older adults to continue their bathing regimens without assistance. Throughout the home, modifications like wider doorways and lever handle door knobs are other important considerations.

Why did you decide to go for your CAPS designation?

Professionals and customers have witnessed years of environments and products which do not work for a wide range of users and needs.  They are increasingly looking for products which can meet a variety of needs, and are discouraged when they encounter products which fail to do so, as well as manufacturers who are not educated in these issues.  I knew this program would offer me the skills and design knowledge I would need to serve the “aging in place” segment of the residential remodeling industry, which is one of the fastest growing markets in the country. I also strongly support the idea of helping maturing adults to age in dignity and comfort in their own homes, so I am glad to be able to offer educated assistance for our customers and consumers in creating safe and accessible project solutions

Thanks for your time, Kal, and best of luck in your future work in this field.


From Toilets to Trim: Trends in Bathroom Remodeling

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The Professor is obsessed with toilet performance – no doubt about that – but the interest doesn’t end there. No, the Professor also has an eye for the finer things in life – like  bathroom remodeling and style trends, for example. So of course it was a real treat when Gary Uhl, Director of Design at American Standard, offered to share his thoughts on what styles are “hot” right now for bathrooms.

The most surprising trend Uhl has observed is that, in spite of the bold colors and design choices we see becoming popular in the rest of the modern home, more and more consumers are moving back to basic white for their tubs, toilets, and sinks. Why? As Uhl explained, “This is because the range of materials and colors in the bathroom has exploded. You no longer define the color of a bathroom by the tub or the sink. Instead we see wood, metal and glass providing the hue and tone.” This combination of clean, white surfaces next to dark wood makes otherwise traditional pieces look very new and modern, another style trend that Uhl expects to see more of in 2011.

A bathroom suite displaying fixtures and furniture from the Porcher Solutions collection.

As far as special features go, the Professor was pleased to hear that High Efficiency Toilets (HETs) are gaining popularity. Early models of low-flow toilets were often lacking in flushing power, but as HETs have evolved and gained the reputation for great performance they now have, homeowners have finally begun to embrace them. Over the years they will pay for themselves in savings on water bills, making them a great investment. Uhl noted that American Standard’s Cadet 3 FloWise One-Piece HET uses only 1.28 gallons of water per flush while offering maximum performance. As a one-piece it is already easier to keep clean, but it also comes with an EverClean surface that inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing microbes.

The Cadet 3 FloWise 1-piece High Efficiency Toilet (HET)

Another emerging trend, particularly as those style-defining Baby Boomers grow older, is to think of the future and remodel with the concept of “aging in place” in mind. In the bathroom, this means choosing a “right height” toilet or a walk-in bathtub that will still be easy and comfortable to use later in life. And with the spa-like options  now available with these pieces (including whirlpools and airbaths), homeowners don’t need to sacrifice luxury when planning for old age.

Still need help putting it all together? The Style Advisor is a great resource to help build a great new bath that suits your individual style to a T.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing a new interpretation of the term “showerhead” in the DOE’s regulations related to the energy conservation program for consumer products.

The proposal will re-define showerheads as shower valves, allowing only a single showerhead using no more than 2.5 gallons per minute of water per showering compartment. Unless challenged, the new definition would take place by June 18.  (Source: Supply House Times).

American Standard is all for water conservation and we back many federal, state and local government initiatives, such as the EPA WaterSense program.

This action, however, is a significant step backwards from everything we now know about safe bathing for people of all ages, heights and abilities. Smart shower systems designed by experienced professionals have controls for different showerheads in the same shower enclosure, set at different heights for children, aging-in-place and universal accessibility.

The new definition also threatens to increase costs to build schools and other institutions that require multiple showering areas, since separate shower valves will be required for every showerhead.

Professor Toilet urges everyone to contact the DOE re: Docket No. EERE-2010-BT-NOA-0016

1.  Leave comments for the DOE.

2. Send an email.

3. Write to: Docket No. EERE-2010-BT-NOA-0016, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20585

PS:  Professor Toilet would prefer to see government action along the lines of   “cash for flushers.” (Of course, the Professor brings it back to toilets.)   Water conservation rebates implemented in many cities and counties around the nation have encouraged many homeowners to replace old water wasters with toilets that perform better on less water.

Water-saving toilets in general and dual flush toilets in particular are seen as increasing in popularity, according to the AIA survey published on

Also trending in bathrooms:

  • Bath sizes are not increasing
  • Energy and water efficiency are important, but so are designs to accommodate aging in place.
  • Aging in place features on the rise include doorless and/or no-threshold showers, and handshowers.
  • In the current economy, other high-end bath features such as towel warmer are not being installed as often.