Aging in place helps elderly
stay in own homes
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. On December 7,
1941, the known world at that point in history changed forever,
and the "greatest generation" was born.
With all the focus these days on baby boomers, we tend to
forget that the parents of the baby boomers are at a time
in their lives where they either already need help living
day to day, or very shortly will. This is a tough generation,
a lot less self indulgent than their children, and a lot less
interested in glitzy new condos or media rooms.
Studies are beginning to show that as Americans get older,
the vast majority would rather live in their own home than
an assisted living facility. As a way to help seniors who
feel this way, the Remodelers Council of the National Association
of Home Builders has been proactive in helping seniors to
modify their homes as they age.
"Aging-in Place" is the program they developed to
advise senior citizens in the best way to modify their homes
so they can remain in them throughout their maturing years.
To meet the demand of a changing population, the National
Association of Home Builders Remodelors Council created the
Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist designation program. This
is the only program that teaches remodelers how to modify
homes for the growing older population.
Their goal is to guide individuals on how basic alterations
can make it easier and more affordable to carry out daily
activities, such as bathing, cooking or climbing stairs, and
can improve a homes overall safety. Projects for aging-in-place
remodeling vary from the installation of shower grab bars
or adjustments of countertop heights, to private elevators
and first-floor master suites.
Professionally done, these modifications are barely noticeable
to visitors and homeowners can enjoy their home safely, without
any institutional feel, and keep it aesthetically pleasing.
Since 2002 there have been more than 800 professionals who
have received this designation. If youre interested
in finding a trained home remodeler you can visit www.nahb.org/remodel.
There are two additional web-sites that can provide information
on design ideas, useful products and how to find them, and
professionals who can help homeowners plan and implement home
modifications. An information booklet also can be downloaded,
in addition to available on line newsletters. These sites
are www.seniorsafehome.com and www.naipc.org.
Any home project or remodeling venture should always be carefully
Written estimates, always important, ,can become life changing
to homeowners on fixed incomes and with limited funds. Check
your contractor out with the state office of consumer protection
and the Better Business Bureau, and dont let yourself
get talked into unessential modifications.
With the baby boomers hot on the heels of their parents, there
are sure to be many original and creative ways to age-in-place
on the horizon. In the meantime, the greatest generation has
earned their independence, and with todays technology
and innovate home improvements, they can stay self-sufficient
and happier longer.