Help Me – Please!
Not surprisingly, consider these facts:
- In 2010, approximately 40% of the population was people 65 and over in the United States, as compared to 12% in 2004 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Additionally there are about 76 million Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1963
Obviously, as people age and want to stay in their homes, there will be more demand for aging in place amenities. The current economic conditions may even lead to a spike in this demand, as even more people will want to stay in their homes, rather than sell them at depressed prices.
Helping people age-in-place is a topic that is near and dear to me. Over the last five years I have helped both my parents and in-laws modify their living environment to age-in-place. The following questions/answers hopefully can help you or someone you know deal with gracefully aging-in-place.
Questions to ask as you consider remodeling or modifying your home:
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.
Who can you rely on to modify your home?
CAPS professionals have the answers to your questions. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically enriching, barrier-free living environments.
The CAPS program goes beyond design to address the codes and standards, common remodeling expenditures and projects, product ideas, and resources needed to provide comprehensive and practical aging-in-place solutions. CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a code of ethics and are required to maintain their designation by attending continuing education programs and participating in community service.
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 Remodelors™ 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 Certified Aging In Place specialist (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?
Call or email me if you have any questions. 847.770.6303 or Michael@michaelmenn.com.