67°F
weather icon Clear

BOOMING BUSINESS

Baby boomers are growing older, putting off retirement to continue in the work force, living longer and choosing to stay in their own homes as they age.

Because of this self-sufficiency, interior designers, architects and manufacturers have come up with new ways to assist those aging in their homes with decorative bath and shower grab bars, high-rise toilets and hands-free faucets, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Function, comfort and design have no age limit.

“In the last five years, baby boomers have started to understand how important aging is,” said Melanie Horn Mallers, professor of gerontology at California State University, Long Beach. “They don’t want to be called old and they don’t want to live in the traditional nursing home or assisted-living facility. They want to live in the comforts of their own home with pride, control and dignity. The good thing is that boomers are talking about these issues and willing to ask questions as they know this is crucial to enhancing their quality of life.”

Larry Brodey, president of JACLO, a company that manufactures a line of decorative grab bars, said homeowners know that the home that serves them when they are healthy may not take care of them when they break a leg, hurt their back or just can’t move as easily as they once did.

“People understand they need homes that will age with them,” he said. “JACLO has created luxury grab bars that come in a variety of lengths and finishes and even styles to meet pre-existing fixtures. The bars can be outfitted with an adjustable hand shower that allows the user to sit on a bench or wheelchair to achieve a comfortable bathing experience. Keep in mind that as a person gets older, their skin gets thinner and a hand shower creates a more gentle wash. It’s just as efficient as a regular showerhead and has all the proper settings, including height adjustments from 12 inches to 6 feet.”

Brodey said all bath and shower equipment complies to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and is designed with a focus on human ergonomics. Most bars can handle as much as 400 pounds.

While grab bars are the most popular product, other equipment includes raised toilets, hands-free faucets, levers that replace door knobs, lower cabinet heights and rugs that can be secured to the floor. These “aging in place” products are crucial not only to homeowners, but caregivers or family members who have frequent visits from older relatives and friends might want to have them installed in their homes as well.

Cindy Sermeno, a sales consultant at Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, displays a variety of products at her store located at South Grand Canyon Drive and West Flamingo Road. She suggests that grab bars also can be used along hallways as a type of rail system, while faucets with levers (instead of round handles) allow the user to activate them with the wrist or elbow. The same levers can be applied to doors.

“Another popular item is the toilet,” said Sermeno. “The standard toilet is 14 inches high and our Comfort Height toilets are 2 inches higher which makes it easier to sit and stand. There are also sinks that mount to the wall so a person in a wheelchair can slide in and use it.

“And until you’re at that point in your life, you can’t realize how important this is to someone who has trouble bending or standing or is just physically challenged.”

The aging-in-home concept also can be brought into the kitchen. Sermeno said there are ADA-compliant dishwashers that open at the right height to place or remove dishes. Other products include height-adjustable tables, wall units that lower to load plates and platters, elevated work stations and accessible corner storage units. The products are not just for the disabled, but for anyone who is not as nimble or coordinated as they once were.

“Being able to decide where you want to live enhances dignity and maximizes self fulfillment,” Sermeno said. “Boomers want their home to be functional so that they don’t feel dependent on others. There is no doubt that the market will keep up with their needs.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Lack of hot water probably problem with thermocouple

Q: My wife started complaining about a lack of hot water, so I ventured out into the garage to check out the water heater. I took the door off and peeked inside and discovered there was no flame. Following the instructions on the tank, I relit the pilot but as soon as I let go of the button, the pilot light went out. I originally thought a breeze may have blown it out, but now I don’t know what to do.

Rainy conditions can cause diseases in plants

A disease called fire blight might pop up in some pear and apple trees beginning around May. It can be common several weeks after spring rains, particularly if trees were flowering. It can lead to tree death if not controlled when it’s first seen.

Delay grape pruning as long as possible

Delay pruning grapes as long as possible in the spring to reduce disease possibilities and avoid any late spring frost damage after pruning. Immediately after pruning grapes, consider applying a fungicide to the vines if there were problems with grape bunch diseases last year.

Time for a pool renovation?

So often the driving force behind such renovations is the pool surface, a cement-based coating of about three-eighths of an inch over the gunite structure. Because of Las Vegas’s hard water, the longevity of a gunite pool surface is 10-12 years.

Mexican petunia needs to be contained to area

My experience with Mexican petunia is that it grows like a weed, and I consider it the broadleaf version of Bermuda grass, aka devil grass. If it’s contained in an area and prevented from spreading into the landscape, I think it will be OK.

Local pros discuss cleaning essentials

Although the official start of spring is March 19, warmer weather has arrived in Las Vegas and the cleaning season is definitely here.

Check for borers after rainfall

An infrequent desert rain is not a problem. But when irrigation water is applied over and over to a soil that is normally dry, these soils shift, collapse and chemically change. In urban landscapes, this can be potentially destructive.

Sanitize blades of loppers, hand shears before using

When preparing to prune plants, follow these three rules: adjusting loppers or hand shears so they don’t rip plants instead of cutting them, making sure the blade is sharp for the same reason and sanitizing the blades.