More and more people are hoping for permanence, especially as they age, but that’s not always possible with the homes they currently live in. While a house might be fine for a suburban family, it can have too many hazards for older inhabitants. As years pass, those dangers exacerbate, which is why many remodelers are beginning to specialize in renovating homes for a long lifespan. The CAPS program (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) has only been around since 2002, but it’s one of the most needed specialty systems today.
The AARP has found that 89% of people 50 or older wish to remain in their homes indefinitely, and as a result, a large majority of remodelers already prepare homes for aging in place. Their additions and procedures, though, can vary widely, so the NAHB began its Aging in Place Specialist certification program to standardize the practice. Contractors who complete and finish the program become experts in the best methods to ready a home for a long stay. Criner Remodeling has been a Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2005.
Everyone thinks of grab bars by the toilet when they imagine a home suitable for the elderly, but a Certified Aging in Place Specialist will add many more critical elements to a house that often go overlooked. It’s still common to find older homes with steps and platforms throughout rooms on the ground floor, but those have to be leveled out to prevent falling and in case a wheelchair ever becomes necessary. Showers need to be accessible without a curb; floor plans should be as open as possible; and the master suite needs to move to the ground floor if it’s not already there or an elevator should be installed. CAPS professionals will use subtle techniques to make a home completely ready for aging in place. Ensuring all fixtures have multiple bulbs, stacking closets in case an elevator shaft is ever necessary, and adding shelves at entry ways are all important decisions that can prevent a dangerous fall and prepare a house for any need. Most people have lived in their homes for a majority of their lives. If they’re like the grand majority who wants to stay there indefinitely, they’re best served with a CAPS-trained professional to renovate for the long run.