When your parents begin aging at home, the best defense is a good offense- by that, we mean having a strong plan in place to help your parent age comfortably and safely at home. That’s where CAPS Certified Home Builders come in.
CAPS stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, and as America continues to get older (88 million people will be over 60 in the next 15 years, according to the AARP), CAPS home builders are becoming more prevalent, especially considering that recent studies show that the vast majority of aging homeowners prefer to age in place.
CAPS home builders are specifically trained to analyze a homeowner’s needs and propose a project that will meet those needs in a professional, aesthetically pleasing design. They use thoughtful remodeling techniques to help homeowners age in their homes comfortably and at an affordable cost. Outside of just design, the CAPS professionals maintain high codes of ethics and building standards, as well as going through continuing education to stay up to date on the latest in aging at home design and functionality.
When you begin to consider at CAPS home builder, you will want to be aware of what kind of modifications the CAPS professional will offer you. The CAPS professional will focus on increasing access and maneuverability in areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. Some options may including installing bath and shower grab bars, installing bath tub lifts, adjusting countertop heights, creating a first floor master suite, and installing stair lifts. It may be helpful to take a survey to analyze how livable and age-friendly your home is, such as the one offered by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Before you meet with a CAPS builder (you can find a local CAPS professional here), it’s important to consider all of the aspects of your home redesign. Outline a budget for any modifications, and select a professional with plenty of experience with your specific kind of remodel (ask family and friends for referrals if possible). Consider whether you’ll need a home equity loan or if you want your remodel to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Also, think about what specific modifications you’ll need for your home. Some of these options may include:
- Adding a bathroom/bedroom to the first floor
- Making your kitchen more functional
- Preventing falls
- Widening doorways
- Installing lever handles on doors
- Modifying the heights of counters and light switches
The more prepared you are when meeting with a CAPS professional, the more the professional will be able to help meet all of your needs.
It’s important to get a home modification project started sooner rather than later; this way, you’ll save money and you’ll have more time to ensure that everything you need gets done, instead of waiting until something happens to an aging homeowner (such as a slip in a bathtub or an injury that will make it difficult to get around the home). By working with a CAPS certified home builder to create an age-friendly home using home access products, you can ensure that your aging parent is comfortable and can safely live in their home for years to come.