The house that Tom built

‘What we should be doing is everything we can to allow people to stay at home for as long as they can’
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NEENAH, Wis. – Provider Tom Wilson is building a house.

But not just any house. The president of the CareGiver Partnership has begun construction on a 5,100-square-foot-home designed with the latest in aging-in-place trends in mind.

“My wife and I are about 60 and we live in a traditional two-story house,” said Wilson. “It’s not like we can’t climb the stairs today, but we want to get ahead of the curve.”

The CareGiver Partnership is a mail-order provider of incontinence, wound care and diabetes supplies, aids-to-daily living and personal care supplies.

The ranch-style house in a residential neighborhood will feature wider hallways and doorways, easy-access counters, no-step showers and zero-egress entry. Automated systems with control-touch panels will control security, lighting and temperature. 

“We designed it to include as many of the aging-in-place features as possible without making it look like an assisted living facility,” said Wilson.

The Wilsons will live on the main level, but they have identified an area where an elevator to a lower level containing guest bedrooms and bathrooms, an exercise room and a media center, could go if necessary. A dumbwaiter will allow them to move heavy items, reducing the risk of falls or injury.

The house will also feature “green” technology like a car-charging station and a drain water heat recovery system.

Wilson said it doesn’t cost much more to build a house with aging-in-place in mind, and estimates the home automation he plans to install could run about $20,000.

Wilson plans to document the progress—including images and video—with blog posts, news releases and on social media. At the end of the project, he plans to publish a best practice guide to aging in place. As a provider, he feels it is as important to serve as an information resource as it is to sell products.

“When we first started CareGiver, my mind was around selling products, but really what we should be doing is everything we can to allow people to stay at home for as long as they can,” said Wilson. “Then we can provide the products, and answers to questions.”