By Dr. Nora DeVoe, Ph.D.
Geriatric Care Manager


Making Your House A Home For A Lifetime

If you are like the majority of Americans over age 50, you want to continue to live in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. According to AARP, as well as many other health and aging professionals, older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to age in place. Now, more than ever, the aging baby boomers are considering this very likely scenario as they start to plan for the viability of doing just that- aging in place.

To age in place, you will probably need to modify your house as you age to increase access and maneuverability. These modifications can range from the installation of bath and shower grab bars and the adjustment of countertop heights, to the creation of multifunctional first floor master suites.

A certified aging in place specialist (CAPS), is a still new designation program that 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 aging in place. Aging in place means remaining in one's home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age or disability level. It means having the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years and the reassurance of being able to call a house a home for a lifetime.

A Certified Aging in Place Specialist has been trained in understanding the unique needs of the older population, specialized aging in place home modifications, common remodeling projects, as well as solutions to common barriers. With that in mind, AARP and The National Home Builders Association collaborated to develop this program to address the growing number of consumers that will soon require these modifications. CAP professionals 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 building codes and standards, common remodeling expenditures and projects, product ideas, and resources needed to provide comprehensive and practical aging in place solutions.

CAP professionals draw from a different knowledge base, approaching your home project from a unique and different perspective. 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.

Next time, we will review a handy checklist to help you think through a home modification and questions you need to ask yourself and your family if you are considering home modifications over the long haul in your quest to stay and age in place.

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Nora DeVoe is a Gerontologist specializing in Eldercare and Caregiver issues. She may be reached at (716) 667-7299.  

Dr. Nora is a ....