Bob Black of Access of Sarasota (Fla.) says such lack of acknowledgment of possible future disability is very common. "Many older people don’t want to admit they’re getting older," he says. "They don’t want remodeling that looks like it’s for 'old people.'"
As a result, Black uses subtle techniques and products, such as wider doorways, nonslip tile and lever door handles, in his projects. "We recommend many products like these as part of the design instead of just safety issues. It’s much easier for people to accept. Even if they have no disability now, their homes will be ready if they have problems later."
The report, Can We Talk? Families Discuss Older Parents’ Ability to Live Independently ... or Do They?, is available through AARP. An executive summary is posted at http://research.aarp.org/il/ind_liv_1.html .