Aging in Place

Aging in Place

“Aging-in-Place” is rapidly becoming a major topic among seniors.  According to the AARP, nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes.  Even when they need day-to-day assistance or ongoing healthcare, 8 percent prefer to stay in their own homes.  Only 9 percent expressed a preference for moving to a facility and only 4 percent to a relative’s home.

Seniors want control of their own life.  And, of course, they want to live in the home where they raised their children, know where everything is and remain in their neighborhood.


But how do seniors make their homes fit the physical conditions they are now experiencing such as diminished or failing eye sight, poor balance, decreased flexibility and joint issues?  In most homes of seniors, modifications that would make an enormous positive difference in their lives have not been made, nor have they been given little thought. Often the senior and their families are not aware of what is now possible.


According to the AARP, when asked, seniors said what was most important to them are:

  • Safety features such as non-slip floor surfaces (80 percent)
  • Bathroom aides such as grab bars (79 percent)
  • Personal alert system that allows people to call for help in emergencies (79 percent)
  • Entrances without steps (77 percent)
  • Wider doorways (65 percent)
  • Lever-handled doorknobs (54 percent)
  • Higher electrical outlets (46 percent)
  • Lower electrical switches (38 percent)


Seniors who made modifications to their homes said they did so primarily for safety reasons and their ability to live independently.


Interestingly, 54 percent of adult children believe their parents will need assistance but only 27 percent of older parents believe they will need assistance.


Good news!  There is help for seniors and their families to get homes ready for seniors to age in place.  Building contractors and interior designers are now able to obtain a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) designation.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in collaboration with the AARP developed the CAPS program and designation to provide comprehensive information and skills to building, remodeling and design professionals.  CAPS professionals are trained in the needs of the aging population in the areas of common remodeling projects and expenditures, codes and standards, product ideas and resources.  These professionals are adept at the technology, tools and resources that are the most useful to seniors who want to age in place.  They are a resource to help the seniors in your life to live independently in their home.


If you plan to remodel your or your loved-one’s home, make sure you do your homework.  Make a list of your wishes and questions.  Get all the information you need.