Wealthy Seniors Embrace Elder Luxe
Posted on January 29, 2008The L.A. Times examines the hot new growth area of elder luxe. Elder Luxe is the concept that aging doesn't have to mean ugly walkers, wheelchairs or every space-saving single gadget from the Lillian Vernon catalog. Arthritic knees are cosseted with stylish loungers and colorful canes. You get the idea.
But a growing number of companies directed to the needs of seniors are fomenting just such rebellion, insisting that home design doesn't stop at geezerhood or the first hearing aid. We're no longer stuck with grim, all-function, no-aesthetic medical supply fare that adds insult to infirmity. Seniors and others now can choose from an array of chic aids that don't make them feel as if they've just been discharged from intensive care.Pictured is the Arc42 Fatigue & Pain Relief Professional Chefware, a set of chefware which has ergonomically designed handles to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and to make it easy for those with arthritis to avoid spills and burns. The set retails for $325 at the appropriately named store Elderluxe.com. Other hot elder luxe shopping destinations include Gold Violin and QVC. Target shoppers can look forward to Michael Graves Solutions, which Graves designed after a virus put him him in a wheelchair. Unhappy with grim hospital style bathrooms, he's designed a colorful and ergonomic bathroom/home line for those with mobility issues.
Leading the charge are websites such as Elderluxe and Gold Violin, as well as legendary architect and industrial designer Michael Graves, who is introducing a line of tub bars, canes and other aids for daily living that are sleek and modern. Need a hand with the groceries? Forget that decrepit granny cart that looks as if it came from Woolworth's in 1962. Upgrade to a black patent leather shopping trolley from Murval of Paris, available from www.elderluxe.com.
"We're saying that aging can be a more positive experience. You can still have a very vibrant and active life," says Patrick Conboy, founder of Chicago-based Elderluxe, a Sharper Image for seniors that sells designer shower chairs, home exercise equipment calibrated for older bodies, high-tech body-fat analyzers and a tricked-out $3,200 scooter that looks ready for the NASCAR circuit.