NAHB noted that builders and remodelers are incorporating the following aging-in-place features in new and remodeled homes:
- At least one bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. First-floor living remains a high priority for many consumers, especially older adults. Having a full bath and a master bedroom on the main floor makes it easier for those who have trouble climbing stairs.
- Conveniently located and easy-to-use controls and handles. Raised electrical outlets, electrical switches positioned slightly lower and thermostats with large, easy-to-read numbers are perfect for older people. Installing lever handles makes it easier to open doors for people with arthritis or someone carrying a sack of groceries or a small child.
- No-step entrances. Having at least one entry without steps creates easier access for everyone, regardless of their ability.
- Extra maneuvering space throughout the home. Wider doors and hallways can make a home more accessible to everyone.
- Larger bathrooms with safety features. A bigger bathroom makes maneuvering easier for people with walkers, crutches and wheelchairs. Grab bars can provide stability and prevent falls.
- Improved lighting. Because eyesight changes as people age, the importance of appropriate lighting cannot be overstated. Multiple controls can help limit the number of trips needed to turn lights on and off. Adjustable controls or dimmers can help prevent glare and ensure proper lighting. Task lighting also is preferred for cooking, reading and shaving, while softer light is appropriate for night trips to the bathroom.
Consumers who are interested in renovating their homes are encouraged to hire building professionals with experience in the aging-in-place field.
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists Can Create Barrier-Free Living Environments
The NAHB Remodelors™ Council offers a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) professional designation and, to date, more than 500 professionals have been certified to design and build aesthetically enriching, barrier-free living environments.
CAPS designees also can provide consumers with comprehensive and practical aging-in-place solutions. For addition information on CAPS program, visit www.nahb.org/caps.
While studies have shown that most of the millions of aging Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will likely remain in their current homes after retirement, moving to a new home is an attractive option. Many of the new homes built today include ground-level main living areas with open floor plans to give consumers a wealth of choices and potentially save them money down the road.
“Builders and remodelers have their finger on the pulse of today’s largest home buying population — Baby Boomers who want their homes designed so that they can gracefully age in place ,” Rayburn said. “Regardless of age or lifestyle choices, every American should have the option of living in a home that is comfortable and allows them to maintain their independence and dignity.”
For more information on aging-in-place or National Aging in Place Week activities, visit Web sites developed by NRMLA and the Aging in Place Council, www.seniorsafehome.com and www.ageinplace.org. The Web sites provide information on design ideas, useful products and how to find them, and professionals who can help home owners plan and implement home modifications.
The NAHB University of Housing Offers Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) Designation
The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program teaches the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging in place. For more information on this designation program, click here.
Attend the 2005 Seniors Housing Symposium in Metro Washington, D.C. Area
Learn more about the fastest-growing segment of the housing market. Plan to attend Building for Boomers & Beyond: Seniors Housing Symposium 2005, the premier educational and networking event for industry professionals serving the burgeoning 50+ market. For more information, click here.
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