In the next 20 years, the number of people over the age of 65 are anticipated to be double. In the next 30 years, the population of Americans ages 65-85 will swell to nearly 73 million. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), around 23 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents; this number will become higher as baby boomers enter their retirement age. Almost 90% of seniors over 55 want to stay in their home as they age, and not have to move into a senior living facility like a retirement or nursing home. Not for as long as possible anyway.
Here are some important questions to ask when thinking about whether to age-in place or not:
- Are you able to live safely in your existing home?
- Do you feel comfortable while living in your home?
- How long will you be able to live at home independently?
- Does your home have dangerous conditions like slippery floors in the bath or kitchen?
- If you had a wheelchair-user friend over to visit, could they comfortably use the kitchen sink or other appliances?
- Could they get into the bathroom or is the door too narrow? Once in the bathroom, could they get in the tub or shower safely?
- Cost, health and safety, proximity to family, emotional attachment are other factors to be considered.
What does of Aging-In-Place mean?
Term of “Aging-In-Place” is the desire to live in your home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, ability level or income for as long as possible. Skillful Aging in Place remodeling can buy you another 10 to 20 years in your home, depending on your current age.
What is a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (“CAPS”)?
A Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) is a remodeling or medical professional formally trained to assess homes and provide solutions for the many challenge’s seniors face at home as they grow older. Depending on the owner health condition, resolutions could change from minor modifications to a massive remodeling. CAPS is a nationally recognized certification provided by the AARP and the National Association of Homebuilders. Read more at https://www.nahb.org/Education-and-Events/Education/Designations/Certified-Aging-in-Place-Specialist-CAPS
Homeowners who call upon CAPS remodelers for assistance generally fall into one of three categories:
First: Homeowners with no urgent needs. These are “planners” who want to plan ahead to get their home ready for old age, or to accommodate an aging parent. These include people that who are not experiencing a significant health issue. They do not feel any urgency to incorporate accommodating features in their homes but know it is wise to put in these safe and convenient features before they have to later. Many people are in denial that they are aging and never consider making any aging in place modifications. Often, they are sorry later.
Second: Homeowners with “progressive or chronic condition’ that can worsen over time.
Their home needs special modifications which plan for safety and convenience now and for the future, too, as their needs change.
Third: Homeowners who experience a sudden, traumatic change, like stroke, cancer or heart attack, which necessitates immediate home modifications to allow them to come home and live safely in the familiar environment that only home can offer.
Solutions for each segment can be custom-tailored to their needs and help with cognitive as well mobility problems now and in future years.
You may ask how we can predict our future needs with respect to living in our homes? We cannot know specifically what the future holds for us and our loved ones, but employing aging in place and the broader, sweeping ideas found in “universal design” changes can make homes safer and mor comfortable for everyone, regardless of age, or abilities.
A CAPS-trained contractor can assess your home and make suggestions to improve its livability over time. He or she can also partner and communicate well with healthcare professionals like occupational and physical therapists.