Are Home Improvement Professionals Ready to Meet Aging-in-Place Needs?

A recent aging-in-place report released by HomeAdvisor, a leading online marketplace for connecting homeowners with trusted home service professionals, in collaboration with the National Aging in Place Council punctuates the strong Universal Design trends related to how residents are modifying their homes today. The Report, prepared by a HomeAdvisor housing expert and professor of practice at University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture Marianne Cusato, revealed that while the number of residents aged 65 or older is climbing and at least 90% of those homeowners plan to remain permanently in their homes, the number of home service professionals appropriately educated and equipped to execute aging-in-place solutions remains low. In fact, according to the Report, over two-thirds of home improvement professionals are unfamiliar with the term Universal Design and just 25% of these professionals were aware of the National Association of Home Builders Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist Program (CAPS).

These statistics alone suggest that the majority of home service professionals lack the necessary information, certifications and resources required to meet the needs of this growing homeowner population.With that, we might conclude that homeowners contracting with local home improvement professionals may not always be receiving acceptable access to the breadth of information and resources available to them.


What is CAPS?

Homeowners considering aging-in-place home modifications would be wise to seek out CAPS-certified professionals. The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation was developed by the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers™ Council, in collaboration with the AARP, NAHB Research Center and NAHB Seniors Housing Council. This program was developed in order to provide professionals with the necessary education and training to best meet the home modification needs of homeowners aged 50 and older.

CAPS professionals have been taught strategies, techniques and best practices for designing and executing aging-in-place renovations – delivering safety, style and function. CAPS professionals are also knowledgeable of ever-evolving codes and standards and are therefore able to provide comprehensive and practical aging-in-place solutions. CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a code of ethics and are required to maintain their designation by attending continuing education programs and participating in community service.


Looking to the Future

Here are the US Census Bureau statistics:

US residents 65 or older will grow from 35 million in 2000 to nearly 73 million in 2030

US residents 85 and older will increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2030

Where we live impacts how we live. The National Association of Home Builders is now estimating that over 70% of homeowners completing a remodeling project are making age-related improvements for themselves or their parents. Clearly, more resources are needed to educate professionals and raise awareness about the opportunities for aging in place homeowners so that they may continue to live independently – in the home that they love – with safety and style.

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