Aging in Place

“In plain English, aging-in-place means living in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.” -National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The NAHB further explains that aging-in-place “means the pleasure of remaining in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years, and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a home for a lifetime.”

How big is Aging in Place?

  • 89% of people 50+ wish to remain in their own homes indefinitely (AARP)
  • 68% of remodelers already perform aging-in-place remodeling (NAHB).
  • Over half of all 55+ households rate their current home a 9 or 10 out of 10 (American Housing Survey).
  • The aging population is the number two issue to affect the remodeling industry over the next five years, only behind the availability of skilled labor (NAHB).
  • Remodelers report that the most requested aging-in-place features include: grab bars, higher toilets, curbless showers, wider doorways, ramps or lower-thresholds, and task lighting.

What is being done to help the aging population?

NAHB, in partnership with AARP and the NAHB Research Center, developed the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program – the leading national educational designation designed to teach professionals how to modify homes for aging in place. Since 2002 more than 3,500 have completed CAPS, making it one of the fastest-growing education programs at NAHB. NAHB Remodelers provides more information for consumers online at: www.nahb.org/aginginplace.

What should my home contain if I want to age-in-place?

  • A master bedroom and bath on the first floor.
  • A low or no-threshold entrance to the home with an overhang.
  • Lever-style door handles.
  • No change in levels on the main floor.
  • Bright lighting in all areas, especially places like stairways.
  • A low-maintenance exterior.
  • Non-slip flooring at the main entryway.
  • An open floor plan, especially in the kitchen/dining area.
  • Handrails at all steps.

What are some techniques used in Aging-in-Place Design?

  • Lighting from multiple directions – reduces glare and shadows.
  • Light sockets with more than one bulb – redundancy in case one bulb burns out.
  • Stacking closets for a future elevator shaft.
  • Contrasting colors for depth perception – use a different color counter (or edging around the counter) than the floor, staining the edge of the stairs a darker color than the rest of the steps.
  • Convenience shelf at an entry way to place your grocery bag while getting your keys.
Information provided by NAHB.org. Visit the NAHB Aging-in-Place page to learn more.