One of the good things about having operated Tomco Company since 1979 is that I have overcome all sorts of remodeling challenges. That’s practical, experience-based knowledge that we can apply to your project. But it’s not everything. I also have earned a number of certifications and participated in continuing education over the years to keep current with best practices in design and construction.

Last week I  attended an hour-long NARI MN presentation by Louie Delaware from the Living In Place Institute. It’s the Colorado-based non-profit organization he founded to educate and certify contractors to make homes comfortable and safe for people of all ages and abilities.

I’ve been CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) certified for many years. So much of the information Louie share matched what I already knew. But it was a good refresher and reinforced my belief that we can make homes comfortable, safe, functional, accessible, adaptable and beautiful.  After surgery on both knees and a shoulder in recent years, I can tell you from personal experience that you don’t have to be in your golden years to appreciate accessible design.

You don’t have to be old for accessible design

In reality, all of the things Tomco does for accessibility and safety make life better regardless of our clients’ age and ability.

  • It’s easier to get up off a comfort height toilet after knee surgery, especially if the toilet paper holder is designed to double as a grab bar.
  • That eye-level horizontal accent tile strip along your shower walls isn’t just pretty. It also helps you keep your balance.
  • Who wouldn’t appreciate brighter LED lights that that last forever and can be dimmed?
  • Color contrast and patterns should make sense to help you navigate your home and avoid falls.

Louie said he named his organization the Living In Place Institute rather than the Aging in Place Institute or the Universal Design Institute because we don’t like to dwell on the fact we are getting older each day and because universal is too impersonal. I don’t care what you call it. Safety and comfort never go out of style. Don’t worry. We’ll make sure it looks good too.