Posts Tagged ‘aging in place’


Bathroom Blogfest: Climbing Out – When You’re 90

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Nora DePalma

Is your bathroom ready for aging?

By aging, I totally mean you.

Since starting in the building products industry 20+ years ago, I can’t help but notice that we haven’t made a lot of progress towards accepting bathrooms that accept us at all stages and phases of life.

Which brings me to an interesting bathroom “climbing out” story.

My parents lived on their own until my dad was approaching 97 and my mom was in her 80s. My mom was doing everything she could to shield my dad from the embarrassment of having caregivers take over his daily routines.

On one of my usual visits, Mom couldn’t wait to tell me just the funniest darn story. “Arthur, tell Nora what happened to us in the bathroom last week!”

“Is this something I want to hear?”

“Oh, it’s funny! You’ll love this,” Mom is laughing. Dad is laughing. I wait expectantly.

“Daddy is in his bath and can’t get out!”

“I can’t get out! Stuck!” My dad is leaning onto my mom because he is laughing so hard. “Get it? I’ve fallen in and I can’t get up!”

So far, this is not funny.

“So he calls me in and I try to help. Guess what happens?”

I can’t imagine.

“I fall in with him!” Mom howls.

“Now we’re both stuck, absolutely soaking wet, and neither of us can get out!” Daddy can barely get the words out. They are having the time of their lives telling me this story.

I am not laughing.

My parents don’t want unknown caregivers helping them with their most private of functions, and yet they are unable to climb out of the tub. I have a full-time job and a family an hour and a half away. One of these days, the police will knock on my door to tell me my parents have been found drowned together in the bathtub.  We will be on the news.

No one has really figured out how to make an accessible bathroom that doesn’t look like an accessible bathroom. This is not a problem in itself, it’s only a problem because no one wants to install a bathroom that looks like they need an accessible bathroom.

•    We have developed all kinds of creatively decorative grab bars. But they are still grab bars.

•    We have safe walk-in tubs (the type my Mom actually wanted after she moved in with us as a widow) that can drain rapidly.  They look beautiful, as you can see in this story from the October 2011 issue of Fine Homebuilding. But they are still walk-in tubs.


•    We have zero threshold seated showers with handshowers that can easily replace an existing tub/shower and work for the whole family. But they are still showers with seats.

To climb out of the bathroom, I challenge our industry to keep working on beautiful solutions for safe, stylish aging-in-place bathrooms.

But I also challenge us, as consumers, to climb out of our singular idea of what makes a beautiful bathroom.

For me, a beautiful bathroom is one that keeps my family safe and independent. And dry.

What is Bathroom Blogfest? Brainchild of the uber-creative Christine B. Whittemore, Bathroom Blogfest originated in 2006, bringing together bloggers from around the globe to write about the importance of bathrooms in the customer experience. Their posts come from a wide range of perspectives that include sociology, marketing, research, psychology, environmental, customer experience, and user-experience design.  Read the other creative contributions from 2011:

Name Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott Customer Experience Crossroads
Paul Anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Shannon Bilby From the Floors Up
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill Buyok Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky Carroll Customers Rock!
Katie Clark Practical Katie
Nora DePalma O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog
Paul Friederichsen The BrandBiz Blog
Tish Grier The Constant Observer
Elizabeth Hise Flooring The Consumer
Emily Hooper Floor Covering News Blog
Diane Kazan Urban Design Renovation
Joseph Michelli Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog
Veronika Miller Modenus Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Tile Magazine Editors’ Blog
David Polinchock Polinchock’s Ponderings
Professor Toilet American Standard’s Professor Toilet
David Reich my 2 cents
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany Richmond Carpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce D. Sanders RIMtailing
Paige Smith Neuse Tile Service blog
Stephanie Weaver Experienceology
Christine B. Whittemore Content Talks Business Blog
Christine B. Whittemore Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog
Christine B. Whittemore Simple Marketing Blog
Ted Whittemore Working Computers
Chris Woelfel Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co.
Patty Woodland Broken Teepee
Denise Lee Yohn brand as business bites

Shared Article: Boomers Want Single Level, Energy-Efficient Homes in the Suburbs

Posted on October 8, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Survey: Boomers Want Single Level, Energy-Efficient Homes in the Suburbs.

Newest NAHB survey results, reported by Building Online.  Americans who are 55+ cite preference for  suburban living,  single-story homes and  amenities that include high-speed Internet access.

While the report states that boomers “don’t consider ‘universal’ design a priority,” we would bet that such design principles are actually welcomed and expected, although vain boomers  wouldn’t be caught dead asking for them.


Super-Fast Drains and Luxury Spa Features Herald New Era of Walk-In Tubs

Posted on May 23, 2009 by Nora DePalma

Safety Tubs walk-in tubs have the Minute Drain that empties Safety Tubs up to eight times faster than conventional drains. The patented T5™ Door System eliminates the need to step over the front of the tub, allowing safe and effortless entry, and guaranteed watertight for life.

Download press release and high resolution images.

National Kitchen and Bath Association Public Relations Society of America: Georgia Green Earth PR Network