RETHINK YOUR REMODEL BEFORE YOU START
Everyone knows most seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. Unfortunately, those familiar and comfortable surroundings may prove to be less accommodating as the residents become elderly. In-home caregivers are available and widely used to help older folks stay at home, yet some physical barriers in the home may need to be removed, or modified, to make the home more comfortable…and safe. If you are contemplating some home remodeling, you’ll want to read the rest of this article for some important information you may not be aware of!
David Dillard, president of D2 Architecture in Dallas, designs senior housing. He addressed his staff of young architects about five years ago:
"We have a new protocol and we will require you to on put on pajamas and spend the night as if you were a senior.” The 20-something architects were tasked with having sleep-overs in senior spaces…and taking notes on what they observed. “What did you see? What were nuisances? What were joys and difficulties,” Dillard said.
"He's trying to get architects and other people interested in senior housing to be savvy and come up with making a better fit between man and habitat," says Stan Ingman, professor of applied gerontology at the University of North Texas, who has had Dillard talk to his classes. "That's the same thing I see with architects and engineers trying to design green. We can build buildings that are efficient, but if humans don't like them, they will not be used efficiently."
The pajama parties yielded some good information: Window sills should be low enough that the residents can see out the window while seated in their favorite recliner. Indirect light is easier on older eyes than harsh direct lighting. Seniors need less steps and more quiet spaces.
CERTIFIED AGING-IN-PLACE SPECIALISTS
Though not all contracts can boast that they’ve conducted “sleep-overs”, the industry does take remodeling for seniors very seriously. According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 75% of remodelers report an increase in inquiries related to aging in place. The NAHB figures that the aging-in-place remodeling market is more than $20-billion. (That’s over 10% of the $214-billion home improvement industry!)
Because it’s big-business, contractors and builders are competing for your remodeling dollar. Obtaining specialized training and expertise is one way for contractors and builders to create niche markets for themselves. This can provide a major advantage for you. The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program teaches the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place. “CAPS” contractors should have a wealth of information, suggestions and tips for you.
Visit the NAHB website to locate a “Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist” in your area. http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686
SYNERGY HOMECARE IN-HOME ASSESSMENTS
And of course, we are always available to conduct an in-home assessment. Our trained and experienced staff can help you identify safety issues and other enhancements before you even talk to a contractor.
All the best,
Ray Fitzgibbon, General Manager, SYNERGY HomeCare of Seattle, 206-420-4934