From the outside, it's a plain-vanilla, gable-roofed box of a home that isn't likely to win any architectural design awards.

But inside it's a model home for those who want to age in place.

The "LifeWise Home" is the centerpiece of the NAHB Research Center's (NAHBRC) National Center for Seniors' Housing Research (NCSHR) website.

From the outside, the plain-vanilla looking website also isn't likely to win any Web design awards, but inside it's a model website for detailed information about comfortably growing older in your own home.

NAHBRC established the center three years ago in cooperation with the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging to help those who wish to live comfortably, safely and independently in their own homes as they age and retire -- regardless of income or physical ability level.

Surveys reveal a growing majority of aging Americans -- especially baby boomers -- desire to do just that.

The LifeWise Home page is reason alone to visit the website. It includes a photo-tour of the experimental home NAHBRC constructed a year ago at its National Research Home Park in Bowie, MD (and just opened for public touring), specifications, features and floorplans, and new information on how to tour the home in person.

The simple 1,900 square-foot, Craftsman-styled home on three levels -- including attic living space equipped with a kitchen and bath -- has two bathrooms and two bedrooms.

From no-step entry design at three exterior doors to it's maintenance-free durable metal roofing, LifeWise is an aging-in-place dream home packed with features to make older years eminently more livable.

The home's features include open floor plans, an extra-wide single-car garage, contrasting colors between walls and facings and baseboards for those with impaired vision, raised or lowered appliances with front controls, a first floor easy-access HVAC system, lowered cabinets, roll-under sink, levered door knobs and faucets, chair rails that double as hand rails throughout and dozens of other features.

The LifeWise Home section stands on its own, but NCSHR's home page offers a menu that also points to a host of additional, related resources.

Most notable are those designed to foster development of in-home technologies to assist those who want to age in place.

Surf it for...

Age-In-Place Technology

  • Assistive Technology and Aging in Place (ATAP) -- ATAP is a demonstration program that includes grants offered to developers who produce easily replicated technological advances to support independent living.
  • National Student Design Competition -- A unique young-helping-old competition invites students in post-secondary architecture and building construction schools to come up with innovative residential designs.

    Age-In-Place Community

  • Seniors' Housing E-Review -- E-Review is a virtual community for manufacturers, builders, remodelers, specialists on aging and consumers who want to know the latest on trends, technologies and related issues.
  • Accessibility Resources and Smart Ideas Checklists -- These two areas offer resources and help for hands-on builders, contractors and consumers modifying and building more accessible homes.
  • The International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence -- Hosted by the American Society on Aging and the University of Florida Engineering Research Center On Technology For Successful Aging, this conference is underway now in Arlington, VA with researchers, practitioners, business leaders, policy makers and others meeting through Dec. 6, 2003 to discuss the issues.
  • Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) Program -- This program teaches the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest-growing segment of this specialized residential remodeling industry -- home modifications for aging in place.

    Age-In-Place Content

  • Industry Round Tables -- Round Tables provide rich content about the business of making homes more accessible. There is demographic information and details about accessibility products designs, cost and delivery.
  • National Older Adult Housing Survey (NOAHS) -- This landmark study examines the choices older adult homeowners make with respect to community amenities, home features, and living arrangements.
  • Press Releases -- Media news releases can keep anyone abreast of the latest aging-in-place news from NCSHR.
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