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Dealer Days Teaches Dealers "Aging-In-Place" & Universal Design

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In my quest to continually educate people about Aging In Place, Universal Design, and senior bathing safety, I had the privilege of managing Best Bath Systems' Dealer Days! Best Bath Systems is dedicated to helping seniors and people of all abilities live independently. Best Bath is a leading manufacturer of safe, comfortable, and durable showers and walk-in tubs for homes, hospitals, universities, and care facilities.

New and veteran Best Bath dealers, from across the country and Canada, participated with me in Dealer Days, a 2-day training event which takes place three times per year in Boise, Idaho. For many attendees, this was their first opportunity to tour the factory, where Best Bath products are hand-crafted. This portion of the event gave a better understanding of the Best Bath product and the company’s philosophy on “Made In America“.

In addition to the immeasurable networking and socializing opportunities, dealers participated in sales and marketing sessions, hands-on installation training, toured a local Best Bath showroom, and indulged in some outstanding meals.

“From the first Best Bath employee I met to the last, they made me feel right at home. I am leaving with the feeling that I am part of a very special family. – Bill Pierce – Accessible Home Improvements, Bristol, CT.”

During her seminar, Environmental Gerontologist, Esther Greenhouse, M.S., CAPS explained Universal Design, Visitability, and Aging in Place, which provided attendees with a better understanding of Enabling Environments. Greenhouse defined how aging in place is a movement which enables people to remain in their own homes as long as possible and how universal design meets the needs of a wide range of users. In addition to her Dealer Days seminar, Greenhouse taught CAPS I and II, sponsored by Best Bath Systems, on June 12 & 13 at the Boise Hotel and Convention Center. The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation is the result of the work of NAHB Remodelers — in conjunction with the NAHB Research Center, 50+ Housing Council and AARP. This training program equips graduates with the technical, customer service, and marketing skills required to effectively service the burgeoning market for aging-in-place home modifications.

According to Princeton Senior Resource Center, most seniors express a desire to ‘age in place’, that is, to remain in their own homes as long as possible rather than move to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Often this is possible, but with some modification to their home to improve safety and accessibility. Universal design requires accessible surroundings for people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.

More baby boomers are seeking new homes in specific communities or are planning a remodel to better meet the lifestyle they desire. In addition, many single-family homes are being remodeled for multi-family use with elderly parents or family members needing care. “As more consumers remain in their homes rather than move in this economy, remodelers benefited from a gradual increase in home improvement activity, taking us to a five-year high,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bob Peterson, CGR, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Ft. Collins, CO. “2011 ended on a strong note for the remodeling industry.”

June Dealer Days was an exciting, fun-filled couple of days. I was so please to meet everyone and network. Dealers headed back to their businesses loaded with information and ideas. I am already gearing up for the next Dealer Days event which will be held September 20-21, 2012!

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