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AARP can help make where you live a lifelong home that’s comfortable and a great fit! Visit the Home Show’s AARP Age-Friendly Home to learn smart solutions for making your home right for you. From simple modifications to large design projects, we’ll share solutions aimed at serving you for a lifetime.
Learn about a Rhode Island Livable Home Modification Grant, which offers qualifying (homeowners and renters) up to $5,000 for home modifications benefiting people with disabilities or are aging into disability. This grant program, championed by AARP, aims to make homes safer and easier for caregivers and people with disabilities.
Drop by and tour the AARP Age-Friendly Home!
By Kathleen Connell, AARP Rhode Island
As winter recedes, baseball spring training is underway which means we’ll be talking about batters stepping up to home plate, taking home run swings. They’ll trot into home or slide into home. Once in a blue moon, someone steals home. We root-root-root for the home team, which has nothing to do with whether your team is home or away — Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, for instance. Or not.
On most every Website on the Internet, the Home Page welcomes you and it’s where you feel most comfortable as you move forward. It’s a place to go back to if you’re lost. It is the most important.
The American Dream starts with owning a home. We joke (and/or worry) about “ending up in a home.”
Though our kids eventually leave home it will always be home for them, even when they have one of their own. We’re excited every time they come home. Although coming home sometimes is a time to mourn. And someday the kids will come home one last time to bid us goodbye.
So, what makes a home? There are many answers but one we focus on at AARP is that a home remains a home as we grow old by becoming an Age-Friendly home. That’s why we have been working with the Rhode Island Builders Association to create an Age-Friendly demonstration home at the 2019 RIBA Home Show, April 4-7 at the RI Convention Center.
Read Herb Weiss’s story in this issue for details and, then please, do visit the Home Show. We have more than a score of volunteers trained as guides and ready to answer questions. We’re also offering free copies of AARP’s 24-page HomeFit Guide (downloadable from AARP), a handy tool that illustrates Age-Friendly home improvement options that might be the right fit for your home.
AARP’s mission is to improve people’s lives as they age. In a sense, your home needs improvements – not just as it ages – but as you age. Sometimes, modifications are needed immediately to address an unanticipated change in health. But there are certain things that can be anticipated if you are looking to remain in your home for as long as it is practical and safe.
And when it comes to our family caregivers, Age-Friendly modifications can make a big day-to-day difference for everyone in the home. Please stop by to see if you qualify for up to matching construction funds of up to $5,000 in under Rhode Island’s Livable Homes Modification grant program.
By Herb Weiss
This article is excerpted from the March issue of Rhode Island Senior Digest
Kicking off its 6th consecutive year at this annual show, this year AARP Rhode Island brings you the AARP Age-Friendly home, showcasing accessible designs by Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath, gorgeous interiors by Blakely Interior Design, Unilock’s Outdoor Living Experience and the Connected Home Experience sponsored by Mulholland Audio and Video. At this exhibit, you can also learn more about the state’s Livable Home Modification Grant program available to make your home “age-friendly.”
John Marcantonio, the CEO of the Rhode Island Builders Association, says “Having AARP and their Age Friendly Home feature involved in the RI Home Show brings some very interesting experiences to the show. This feature makes you learn about, and think about, your interior home design and how a few relatively simple changes can make a big difference in how you live in that space over a lifetime!”
“Our relationship with the Rhode Island Builders Association has led to the ambitious collaboration that is the AARP Age-Friendly Home,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Kathleen Connell. “We were absolutely thrilled when we were asked to get behind creating a model home featuring adaptations that accommodate people of all ages and abilities. It also provides an opportunity for a second year at the show for AARP to promote the State of Rhode Island’s Livable Homes Modification Grant Program. AARP worked with several partners, including the Builders Association, to help create this fund that provides matching grants of up to $5,000 for qualifying home improvements. It’s been a win-win for people with disabilities or aging into disability, as well as their family caregivers. These modifications add to comfort as well as safety. Most important of all, they allow people to age in place for longer than they might otherwise stay in their homes without these features.”
“The AARP Age-Friendly Home also will inspire thousands of Home Show attendees to think about home improvements that will enhance their futures. AARP will distribute our popular HomeFit Guide, a helpful road map to age-friendly living and a handy tool for working with a contractor to develop a plan and get work started,” Connell added.
Connell says, “We could not take this on without very strong vendor-partners and the Home Show team,” she continued. “This is a big deal and the scope of the opportunity requires dozens of our volunteers, who have been trained to answer questions about the Age-Friendly Home as well as provide useful information about caregiving – an AARP top priority in both our State House advocacy and our outreach and support to some 134,000 Rhode Island family caregivers.
“A broader aspect of AARP’s work, supporting Livable Communities, also will be on display at the Home Show. We work with volunteers, neighborhood associations and community leaders to address transportation, open space, safety, civic engagement and access to healthcare and other human services that improve the way of life for people of ages. Rhode Island is a great state, but healthy, vibrant communities are its lifeblood,” notes Connell.
“We’re confident that the AARP Age-Friendly Home experience will help raise family caregiver awareness,” Connell concluded. “As the population ages, we’re all going to have to pull together. The collaborative work that’s gone into creating this Home Show feature is an example of how, working together, we can move forward,” she says.
Janelle Blakey Photopoulos, Owner and Creative Director of Blakely Interior Design, says that her company was brought into the AARP-Age-Friendly Home project to create a cohesive interior with a fresh, modern, approachable aesthetic while accommodating today’s multi-generational lifestyle. “The home was designed with functionality in mind, featuring washer and dryer on pedestals for easy access and chairs positioned for seating during everyday tasks,” she says.
Photopoulos adds, “all furniture is arranged to allow for clear passage – a simple change that does not require costly modification. The design allows for flexibility; so, it can meet the needs of the homeowners now, but also in the future.”
This year, the Warwick-based Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath joins Blakely Interior Design bringing its expertise in designing kitchens and bathrooms to the AARP Age-Friendly Home project. “We have designed the kitchen and bathroom, creating spaces that are universally accessible for all ages and abilities,” states Prudence Stoddard, Director of Design.
“We have specifically designed the kitchen to provide wheelchair access, says Stoddard, noting that age-friendly products in the kitchen include a motion-activated faucet, lower countertops, and appliances, and a wall cabinet that lowers down to counter level. “The bathroom includes a roll in shower with touchpad digital controls, seat and hand shower, motion activated faucet, and a smart mirror with Bluetooth connectivity,” she says.
AARP is invested in Communities in Rhode Island and Nationwide!