- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

ATLANTA (AP) — AARP is teaming up with the Home Depot Inc. to designate products that the nation’s largest seniors’ group deems safer and more user-friendly for older Americans.

AARP plans to mark products at Home Depot stores with a seal of approval for people ages 50 and older, under a test program that could be expanded to other retail outlets.

The criteria and types of products for the seal-of-approval program are still being determined, but some being considered include bath and electrical fixtures, as well as certain types of hardware that will help seniors live in their homes more independently.

Home Depot, in turn, is hoping the program will allow it to tap into the growing customer base that older people represent.

“They are very home-oriented with significant disposable income,” merchandising chief John Costello said.

Atlanta-based Home Depot plans to start rolling out the seal-of-approval items in an unspecified number of its 1,835 stores by next year, officials said. The program, an extension of a hiring partnership between AARP and the nation’s largest home-improvement store chain, is to be officially started today.

Home Depot also will begin offering clinics to teach seniors home-improvement skills.

AARP Chief Executive Officer William Novelli said more seniors today want to live independently, and home-improvement projects will help them do that.

“They don’t want to go into nursing homes. They don’t want to go live with their children. They want to live at home,” Mr. Novelli said. “Obviously, there are limitations. But even if someone is in a wheelchair, there are ways to modify kitchens.”

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