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How can chronic care management be integrated into home design?


Getting the house ready for your golden years can be a good investment -- and it's cheapest to make integrations while the house is being built.
Getting the house ready for your golden years can be a good investment -- and it's cheapest to make integrations while the house is being built.
Ken Chernus/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In the developed world, an average person's lifespan is significantly longer these days than those of a hundred years ago -- but with longevity comes an increased chance for one or more chronic conditions. Chronic conditions, which are persistent and hard to get rid of, can limit what a person is able to do, and they include a wide-array of diseases and disorders. Common ones include hypertension, chronic mental conditions (like anxiety, schizophrenia or personality disorders), asthma and other respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's, arthritis, heart disease, eye disorders (such as cataracts or glaucoma) and diabetes.

­In America, everyone's eyes are locked on baby boomers as they ease ever closer to their 60s and middle-aged aches and pains begin to become more serious chronic conditions. It's also common among the elderly to have multiple chronic conditions -- apparently, Father Time really likes to heap it on.

Many baby boomers shudder at the thought of nursing homes, for both themselves and their aging parents. Some are embracing the universal design concept, which basically means utilizing architectural and building techniques that can be used by anyone, of any age or ability-level. More and more builders are receiving requests from people who want their homes prepared in advance for the likelihood they or loved ones could have chronic conditions down the line. It can be a real cost saver to have aging in place features installed during the process of building a new home. To learn more about universal design, read How is an aging baby boomer generation changing the design of homes?

On the next page, let's take a look at some of the highly recommended chronic care management tips for home design, and see why they might be pretty solid home improvement tips regardless of your health status.


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