We have long been advocates of incorporating Universal Design features in our homes, which targets the ease of use for all people in the home. Many times universal home design is transparent: The home is designed to be convenient and spaciously comfortable for all, without compromising the aesthetics of the home.
The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation is the result of the work of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers (in conjunction with the Home Innovation Research Labs) and AARP. Randy Thelen and Jason Thelen recently attended two full days of training to meet the needs of the burgeoning market for aging-in-place home modifications.
Demographic trends indicate that homeowners prefer to stay in their homes as they get older and would prefer to adapt their homes to their changing needs in order to maintain their independence. Remodeling and revitalizing the home for aging-in-place could range from installation of bath and shower grab bars, adjustment of countertop heights, to the creation of multi-functional master suites and the installation of elevators.
Indeed, millions of the Baby Boom generation will turn 55 years old this year and millions more will cross this significant threshold in the next 15 years. About 80% of all Americans age 55 years or older currently own their own homes. Members of this population tend to be healthier and wealthier, and expect their homes to reflect their active and independent lifestyles.
Said Randy Thelen, “Attending the CAPS classes gave me greater insight on how home modifications offer easier recovery from accidents or illnesses. The improvements can also help people avoid injury and live with greater safety and independence as they age in place. And these additional modifications not only make a home more comfortable and appealing, they also inherently add value to that home.”
Very few homes will ever be completely universal, that is to meet everyone’s needs always. There will always be the need for modification, accessibility features and assistive technology to bridge the gap. And isn’t it reassuring to know that adapting the home to meet your changing needs does make it possible to live in your home the rest of your life?