Builders, Remodelers Aim Effort at Seniors

Builders, Remodelers Aim Effort at Seniors

Washington, DC Builders and remodelers around the country last month marked the second annual "National Aging in Place Week," an effort to educate consumers about planning to ensure home safety and comfort as they age.
The National Association of Home Builders' Remodelors Council, Seniors Housing Council and Research Center sponsored the effort, along with other organizations.

During the week-long effort, conducted Nov. 7-13, local home builder associations across the country and their members organized educational activities aimed at assisting homeowners with building and remodeling solutions for aging in place. A number of the suggestions were aimed at kitchens and bathrooms.

"Builders and remodelers have their finger on the pulse of today's largest home buying population baby boomers who want their homes designed so that they can gracefully age in place," said Bobby Rayburn, president of the Washington, DC-based NAHB. "Every American should have the option to live in a home that is comfortable and allows them to maintain their independence and dignity."

The NAHB said that builders and remodelers are incorporating the following aging-in-place features in new and remodeled homes:

  • Larger bathrooms with safety features. A bigger bathroom makes maneuvering easier for people with walkers, crutches and wheelchairs or a caregiver. Grab bars can provide stability and prevent falls.
  • Improved lighting. Because eyesight changes as people age, the importance of appropriate lighting cannot be overstated. Multiple controls can help limit the number of trips needed to turn lights on and off. Adjustable controls can help prevent glare and ensure proper lighting. Task lighting also is preferred for cooking, reading and shaving, while softer light is appropriate for the bathroom.
  • At least one bedroom and bathroom on the first floor. Having a full bath and a master bedroom on the main floor makes it easier for those who have trouble climbing stairs.
  • Conveniently located and easy-to-use controls and handles. Raised electrical outlets, electrical switches positioned slightly lower and thermostats with large, easy-to-read numbers are perfect for older people. Installing lever handles makes it easier to open doors for people with arthritis or someone carrying a sack of groceries or a small child.
  • Extra maneuvering space throughout the home. Wider doors and hallways can make a home more accessible to everyone.