In the Design-Build industry, “Aging in Place” is a term which has generated a great deal of buzz as Baby Boomers overwhelmingly prefer staying home over moving to senior communities.
The National Association of Home Builders says it like this: In plain English, aging in place means remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably,regardless of age, income, or ability level. It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years, and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a “home” for a lifetime.
According to the 2010 Census, there were nearly 77 Million Baby Boomers in America. The majority are living at home as long as possible – often renovating their residence to best suit changing needs. In the weeks to come, Guthmann Construction will suggest DIY solutions and highlight industry trends designed to enhance comfort and independence for seniors.
Some examples of what General Contractors are doing to help people “Age in Place” are widening hallways and doorways to accommodate for walkers and wheelchairs, installing grab bars and bench seats in showers and bathtubs, raising toilet heights, lowering counter tops… there are literally hundreds of possible modifications for any home to increase safety and improve the quality of life for aging homeowners.
Thrive Senior Living, an innovative company managing assisted living and memory care communities recently posted the following information on their company blog: Home renovations that specifically prepare homes for the needs of seniors are the fastest growing type of renovations in the U.S. The National Association of Home Builders even created this helpful Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist to guide people trying to remodel their homes for seniors. Having the option to stay at home as long as possible is extremely important to a generation that, on too many occasions, had to compel a parent to move to a ‘facility’ (senior living as it used to be…oh, how far we’ve come!) to take care of needs that had become impossible to manage at home. That critical feeling of control is what seniors and soon-to-be-seniors are fighting to hold on to, and as more boomers set retirement goals/plans/wishes, that control is something they are actively planning to keep. Research shows that feeling connected to life and having a sense of agency is essential to mental well-being for all ages. Everyone wants to captain their own ship, and it’s no surprise that when seniors feel like they have no control, their health declines rapidly. So Boomers are planning their spaces and their finances to adapt their homes as their needs increase.