Age-friendly turns fashionable


May 16, 2011

When one traditionally thinks of a grab rail, it's natural to think of sterile, hospital bars rigidly attached to the wall. However, the majority of Americans want to age at home for as long as possible and companies are starting to offer products that can help make a home stylish and safe at the same time. 

At the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, a number of vendors showed the latest in age-friendly technology, from faucets to sinks to toilets, according to The Los Angeles Times. Some appliances were lit by LED lights that brought vibrant colors to the area and made them easier to see at night.

All of these advancements are the hallmark of universal design, which is meant to act as a way to keep seniors safe, but also ensure that younger customers are still attracted to the items. Rather than age-specific products, businesses are creating age-neutral ones.

Additionally, some families are turning to personal emergency response systems. These devices can be installed in an older adult's home and used to immediately send a medical alert to a call center.

As for new safety products, some industry analysts appear to believe that this is just the beginning.

"Manufacturers are waking up and saying, 'I need to do something' [for universal design]," interior designer Mary Jo Peterson told the publication.