To those of us who aren't there yet, "aging in place" sounds refined and distinguished. It conjures images of fine bourbon aged for years in an oak barrel or a stately grandfather clock with the right amount of patina. And that's exactly the point: conferring dignity upon the inevitable fact of being older--and, usually, wiser. The term "aging in place" is also more palatable to Baby Boomers.
The trend of adapting a home to meet the challenges brought on by aging, as opposed to moving to an assisted care facility or retirement village, is catching on widely. As the Baby Boomer generation begins to spill into the 65 and older category, contractors can expect to see the rapidly growing business of home modifications, grow even further.
As The Washington Post reports, a newly released survey lists the most common repairs and projects contractors are seeing with this aging population. Safety and functionality were key aspects in each of the top five projects listed. Grab bars were included in 76 percent of projects related to aging in place, mainly in bedrooms and baths.
Adding a ramp to the home’s entrance was another popular adjustment, as it was included in 64 percent of aging in place projects. Moreover, 44 percent involved widening doorways, 35 percent involved adding a bath on the home’s first floor, and 30 percent involved adding lever handles on doors.
Home automation, something that might be considered a luxury for many, is also increasingly popular among the aging population. All-in-one remotes and smart phone apps that control things like lighting and thermostats can all help individuals who have problems with mobility.
Additionally, many people are adding universal design features preemptively: Some 56 percent of the people making these renovations are under the age of 65.