Most of us hope to live long and happy lives in our own homes (unless we have our eyes on some luxurious seaside condo or alterna-elder commune). And in readying our homes for the long event known as aging-in-place, most of us don’t want to put a dent in the décor. Hospital-chic, with its “bisque” grab bars and off-gassing vinyl bath mats, is not our goal.
Good news: While some changes you’ll need to make are structural (for these, you might want to consider getting help from a Certified Aging in Place Specialist contractor), the smaller, subtler changes can turn a nice place into a supercool one. All you need to do is invest in good-looking products and appliances or take advantage of technological advances that are both lifesaving and great looking.
Take a look at these.
Teak Bath Stool
Is it Danish modern or modern medical? This spa-worthy shower bench, by Drive Medical, in a pleasant Mod-ish boomerang shape, looks better as it ages—which is something we can all aspire to. $51.
Invisia Safety Enhanced Bathroom
Nothing says “institution” more than grab bars. But these, by HealthCraft, hide the grab bar in the shower fixture design. Invisia also makes this with a white powder coating to blend perfectly with your Apple iDevices (unless you’re the black iPhone type, of course). $190–$345.
They might not shimmer like your finest silver, but Soft Touch Bendable Utensils are easy to grab—something that becomes increasingly important to folks with arthritis and other ailments that affect the grip. And they have a nice space age appeal. $38, set of four.
Pilar Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O Technology and Soap Dispenser
As your hand grip weakens, two-knob faucets can become troublesome. Delta’s one-touch faucet lets you avoid the problem altogether. Temperature is easy to control with the handle provided. $326
KitchenAid Double Drawer Architect Series 11 Dishwasher
Dishwashers save time and leg strain, but they can be hard to empty. This Double Drawer Dishwasher System allows you to fill and clean one drawer at a time, preserving your back and lowering your water bill. $1,799.
Toto Washlet Series
Good hygiene is a major indicator of your ability to live independently, and cleaning your bottom is an essential part of that. The folks at Toto created the Washlet, a device that attaches to your toilet seat and turns it into a bidet. Jets of warm, aerated water clean your tush (and other parts), no toilet paper—or twisting—necessary. It’ll even dry you off with warm air. You might not need this—yet—but if you’re doing a bathroom makeover, consider it an investment in the future you. $649–$1364.
Twig Handle Pull
Drawer knobs can be hard to wrap fingers around as we age; pulls make them easier to open and shut. Zillions of options are available just about any style, from high mod to Rococo. We happen to like these twig zinc pulls from Atlas Homewares.
Know of any items to add to this list? Name them in the comments box below.