Knowing Customers' Needs

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At the May roll-out course of the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program, Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD, helped participants understand some of the physical and mental changes that are typical of aging.

August 01, 2002

At the May roll-out course of the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program, Mary Jo Peterson, CKD, CBD, helped participants understand some of the physical and mental changes that are typical of aging. Key points she listed include:

  •   Heart disease and high blood pressure can lessen mental acuity. The ability to learn does not decrease, but learning can take longer, so modifications should be as intuitive as possible.

  •   Memory loss, forgetfulness and diminished sense of smell are common as we age. For these reasons, it is better to use electric ranges, not gas, to eliminate any danger of gas burners being left on or gas leaks going unnoticed. Smoke detectors are more important than ever.

  •   The sense of touch, including sensitivity to hot and cold and to pain, also decreases. Pressure-balancing valves in showers prevent scalds.

  •   Reduced strength; bone and muscle loss; and painful, stiff joints — all common among seniors — require light switches (rocker switches) and handles (levers) that can be used easily with a closed fist.
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