A new collaboration between AARP and home improvement chain Lowe’s will provide strategies and information to help make living spaces more accessible for everyone and allow older adults to stay in their homes safely and comfortably as they age.
The two-year collaboration offers information and guidance around home improvement and design techniques to support older adults and family caregivers as they reimagine their homes for the next stage of life. Seventy-seven percent of people 50 and older want to remain in their current homes as they age, according to an AARP survey, but the majority of homes do not have the features needed to support that option.
Through this online and in-store collaboration, AARP will provide the Lowe’s Livable Home initiative with educational content, including stories and videos, to help people make large and small changes to living spaces that will make stairways more navigable, bathrooms and kitchens more user-friendly and to support family caregivers seeking to make home updates.
“People are living longer and they want to live their best lives at every age,” says AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “Ageless homes that work for older adults are good for people of all ages, but most houses weren’t built to support our needs long term. The best way to continue living in the home you love is to make healthy aging improvements today that will benefit you tomorrow.”
There’s an increasing need for functional and stylish home spaces designed with an eye toward accessibility for residents of all ages, as people spend more time in their homes, working, shopping online and socializing. In addition, households headed by people age 65 and older are expected to grow from 34 million to 48 million in the next 20 years, according to the Urban Institute.
“Nearly every family in America at some point, including my own, faces the important and often intimidating responsibility of preparing a home for life’s changes,” says Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “Lowe’s Livable Home is uniquely positioned to help address the customers’ desire for a one-stop destination with trusted resources and affordable solutions they need throughout every step of the journey.”
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The Lowe’s Livable Home initiative offers helpful tips and how-to information and provides solutions and inspiration through a library of articles and videos featuring ideas around smart home technology, lighting, kitchen and bath design, and topics such as caregiving, preventing falls and promoting independence.
In addition, AARP will provide Lowe’s associates with training to better understand the needs of consumers age 50 and above when it comes to home fixes, upgrades and renovations with long-term living in mind. Trained associates will wear AARP-branded badges so customers know they can assist with age-friendly options. AARP and Lowe’s will also develop a “livable home” resource guide for distribution in stores. These efforts are underway in nearly 500 stores and nearly 50 metro areas, with expansion expected, according to Lowe’s.
"AARP's more than 60-year legacy of helping families 50 years and older brings a deep level of expertise and knowledge to Lowe's Livable Home," Ellison says.
“This process of sharing information and articles with Lowe’s is going to help people make better, more informed decisions about trying to meet their needs today, but also help people think ahead," says Rodney Harrell, vice president of family, home and community at AARP. “You may not know that you will have a fall six months from now or six years from now, but you might think ahead about that rug that’s a trip hazard or that doorway that is hard to get through.”
This collaboration, Harrell says, will help people “take a lifetime approach to housing.”
Michelle R. Davis joined AARP in 2020 and oversees the Home & Family section of aarp.org. Previously, she was the senior writer and social media strategist for EdWeek Market Brief and a senior correspondent at Education Week. She also spent five years as a regional correspondent in Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, covering Congress and the White House.