“Trending Styles May Not Be The Way To Go For Aging In Place Designs”

Each year produces its crop of the latest trends, outdoing the ones from the previous years, and in time all will have faded from the scene so we need to choose wisely for aging in place designs

Commercials on TV, home shopping channels, infomercials, print ads in newspapers and magazines, and web advertising show us the latest trends in furniture, appliances, clothing, outerwear, hairstyles, fashion, jewelry, cars, and so much more. We feel like we need to go right out and become a part of the latest trends so that we don’t miss out. However, what happens sooner or later – sometimes quite soon (within weeks) and sometimes much longer (a few months to a couple of years) – is that those trends wane and are replaced by something new.

When we are designing for our forever or permanent homes or those of our clients, we want to pick items that are sustainable that don’t need to be replaced often, if ever. This means that trendy objects just might have to stay off the wish list. Buying the color or style that is current today could mean that within a couple of years that no one wants it anymore and that anyone coming into our home would sense that it was dated. Remember harvest gold, aqua blue, or avocado green appliances and fixtures?

There is nothing wrong with getting something for one’s home that is attractive, but if it is a color or style that was recently introduced and it seems like it might not last that long – sometimes we just have that uncanny sense about something – we should stick with something more traditional and proven.

Nevertheless, this does not preclude us from getting appliances or other features for our homes with the latest technology. The way that technology is advancing so rapidly, there’s a good chance it will soon be replaced by something else, but the basic item itself may remain serviceable. The issue would be if it needs repairing or updating. Getting parts for older computers, CD or DVD players, and similar items popular over the last quarter of a century illustrate just how quickly consumer tastes and product offerings can change.

It wasn’t that long ago when we didn’t have the visual doorbells like we have today (products like Nest and Ring) or the interactive devices that work with our smartphones, wi-fi, or bluetooth (such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home) – all technologies that didn’t exist either until relatively recently. We also have access to digital home security and monitoring devices and systems.

There is no way to know how long some of these new technology products will exist before being replaces by something more advanced and modern. They might even be obsolete in their current form – perhaps hard to believe, but totally possible given the way new technology works.

If we stay away from patterns in flooring, upholstery, and wall and window coverings that may be this year’s chosen color or trending pattern and decide instead to go with a more traditional or classic look, we likely will save ourselves and our clients the time and money or replacing a tired or dated look in just a few years. One thing we want to achieve in aging in place designs and solutions is sustainability and durability, meaning that what we select and install should last. It should not need to be replaced even though it has many years of serviceable life remaining because it has such a dated look or appearance.

However, let’s remember that aging in place designs are specific for our clients and are done to improve their comfort, mobility, safety, and convenience. There could be some door hardware, cabinet inserts, small appliances, bath fixtures, or other products that just appeal to them that they really would like to have. We should do our best to ensure that they are picking them for the right reasons and that they understand that these may not be the most current item in just a few years. If they are willing to accept these conditions, limited use of products recently introduced or those that may not have a long staying power can be used in limited applications to satisfy the client’s personality.

Making the home personal for the client is one thing, but using trending patterns, colors, electronics, and appliances that have not been sufficiently market-tested in our opinion or are likely to fade from popularity in rather short order should still be avoided or discouraged. Regardless, the client, their caregiver if there is one, and their family may opt for color and pattern choices that we don’t recommend just because they make them happy. Again, in limited usage and with the full caution that these may seem quite dated in just a few years, the client should be allowed to voice their opinion and help in the selection process of what is going into their home.

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