You may have heard the expression “Aging in Place” when researching for your home remodel. What does that mean exactly? Aging in Place is when the older population has their home built or retrofitted so that they can safely age there. Installing things like hand rails, ramps and rocker light switches at a lower level are just some of the modifications that can be made to make Aging in Place as comfortable and safe as possible. This is where a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS for short) professional comes in.
There are many professions that seek to become CAPS certified other than contractors. Architects, Occupational Therapists and other healthcare professionals benefit from this training as it is not only age one must consider when looking to make their home safer. There are varying degrees of ability which require a CAPS professional to ensure all the bases are covered.
The president and founder of Christie’s Design/Build, Steve Christie is a CAPS pro who has 20+ years of experience with the process of Aging in Place design and remodeling. In fact, there are over 3500 CAPS nationwide who are highly trained and ready to help make your home more safe. CAPS was created by 2 trusted organizations: AARP (American Association of Retired People) and NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) out of necessity for the growing need for Aging in Place services. The CAPS program is designed to ensure builders have the training in place when building or remodeling a home for maximum safety and security of the client. You can find a CAPS contractor in your area on the NAHB website.
Aging in Place home modification has become more popular than ever as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age. The cost and scope of your Aging in Place implementation can vary greatly depending on many variables. This is why it is imperative to find a contractor that is CAPS certified to assist in your modifications as they are specially trained to not only do the retrofit but they also know what to look for in your home.
That said, Aging in Place isn’t always built into contractors planning making the retrofit later more difficult. CAPS architects and contractors look to Universal Design when first building a home to ensure that it is built for every person in the house, no matter their age or ability. For instance, when building with Universal Design a light switch would be placed about 4 inches lower than the “standard” height so that anyone, children, adults and even folks in wheelchairs, can reach it. Another example is the actual layout of the house. Universal design would create an open floor plan with none, or very few, steps and flush thresholds as well as a walk-in showers for ease of entry. If you are in the market for a home built from scratch, you might want to integrate Universal design into your build so that the home can age with you. Universal Design eliminates barriers for people of all ages and CAPS focuses mostly on the aging population. Click here for a handy checklist of items to consider and look for while researching your project.
Now that you understand what the term Aging in Place means, hopefully you will seek out a CAPS professional when you are ready to build or remodel your home. Everyone in your family can benefit from their skillset to make your home as safe and comfortable as possible for the length of your time in it. Give us a call today for an estimate!