If you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. According to the AARP, older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to age in place, which means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.
The NAHB Remodelers of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in collaboration with the NAHB Research Center, NAHB 50+ Housing Council, and AARP developed the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) program to address the growing number of consumers that will soon require these modifications. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants.
How Should You Modify Your Home to Make it More Comfortable?
To age-in-place you will probably need to modify your house as you mature to increase access and maneuverability. These modifications range from the installation of bath and shower grab bars and adjustment of countertop heights to the creation of multifunctional first floor master suites and the installation of private elevators.
What is the CAPS Designation?
A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) has been trained in:
- The unique needs of the older adult population
- Aging-in-place home modifications
- Common remodeling projects
- Solutions to common barriers
Keep in mind that when you hire a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, you are buying a service rather than a product. Each CAPS professional draws from a different knowledge base and will approach your project in a different way. No matter where you start in the process, you will eventually need to hire a professional remodeler to actually make the modifications to your home.
How Should You Choose a Remodeler?
Figure out how much money you have to spend on the home modification project. Seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and others who have had similar work done. Contact trade associations such as your area’s local Home Builders Association or Remodelers™ Council. Check with your local or state office of consumer protection and the local Better Business Bureau. Verify the remodeler has the appropriate license(s) in your state. Look for professional designations such as CAPS, Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), or Graduate Master Builder (GMB). Ask your professional remodeler for a written estimate of the work to be done based on a set of plans and specifications. Be prepared to pay for this package. Select a professional remodeler with plenty of experience with your type of project. Remember, lowest price does not ensure a successful remodeling project.
What Information Should You Think About?
- Do I want to add a bathroom and possibly a bedroom to the main level?
- How can I make my kitchen more functional?
- Am I worried about preventing falls?
- How much money can I budget for this project?
- Will I need to get a home equity loan?
- Will other members of my family benefit from modifications?
- Will remodeling increase the energy efficiency of my home?
- Where do I find a professional I can consult with about my needs?