TAMPA - Seniors or those with limited mobility may have a hard time getting around their own homes. The key for aging homeowners is to prevent falls and injuries before they happen by proactively addressing safety issues in the home. These include slick surfaces, rugs that are tripping hazards, poor lighting, stairs and wheelchair access.
“These days more and more seniors are deciding to live at home longer than they have in the past," said Angie Hicks, founder of the consumer group Angie’s List . "A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist is an expert in getting your home ready for a senior to live in. They understand exactly what needs to be done to make the home safe: what flooring needs to be in place, what hallways you need for wheelchair accessibility, and even getting the bathroom retrofitted to be a safe place for the senior.”
What is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist? Millions of seniors are supporting a growing niche of contractors who specialize in addressing the needs of aging homeowners, as well as those with special needs. Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) are specially trained through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to work with senior citizens and those needing specific modifications by proactively addressing safety and accessibility issues in the home.
Kent McCool is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. “We do a lot of bathroom modifications," he said, "but it can run the gamut from front entrances - making sure that the lighting is sufficient, that you’ve got handrails going up and down the steps. Depending on the person’s capabilities or mobility issues, maybe ramps can be required. There may be stair lifts that can be required, things that help them get around the home safely.”
“These modifications can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending on what you need," said Hicks. "If you’re going to live in your house for 5 to 10 years it could very well be a good return on investment. Another tip, some of these things can be rented so if you think it’s going to be a shorter period of time check about that option.”
Remodeling to age in place can include:
Falling is the leading cause of death from injury in adults over the age of 65, according to the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with three of every five falls occurring in the home. One-third of those accidents could be prevented by making the home safer. “Bathrooms seemed to be addressed a lot," said McCool. "That’s where the falls happen. We want to prevent those falls. So simple things like grab bars. (Checking) the entrances and exits to your home for proper lighting. Getting rid of those tripping hazards. Making sure the stairs are clear for walking. Installing handrails if you can’t afford stair lifts.”
Angie’s List Tips: Hiring a Remodeling Contractor
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