Help Clients Age in Place with Safety & Style

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Key Highlights

  • More Boomers aging, more homes needing to accommodate less agile, mobile Boomers
  • Design and renovation principles must adapt to senior “friendliness”

Boomers Want to “Age-in-Place”

Research tells us that Boomers want to “age-in-place” in their own homes/neighborhoods while being close to their family and friends.

The COVID pandemic only reinforced Boomers’ aging-in-place preferences.

Agents, you can help Boomers do this.  Take a look at these age projections to help put the aging of America in perspective.  And take a look at

Projected Older Population by Age from 2020 to 2050 in US

Trends driven both by aging Boomers and immigration are projected to change the age structure of the US population through 2050.

For this post, we’ll only summarize projections based on age

According to the US Census Bureau, 2030 will mark an important demographic turning point in the US. All Boomers will be older than age 65 and Boomers will outnumber children (under 18 years) for the first time in US history.

Check Out the Projections

Additionally, the majority of the country’s older population is projected to be relatively young (ages 65 – 74) until approximately 2034.  Then, all the Boomers will be over 70.  After that, of course, Boomers become 85 years and older.

One way to think of this is that in 2010, 14% of the population was 85 and older.  By 2050, 21% of the population will be 85 years and older.

 Agents Can Help Boomers Find and/or Adapt Aging-in Place Homes

Younger Boomers are looking to buy their aging-in-place homes now.  Older Boomers are considering ways to adapt their existing homes into aging-in-place forever homes.

You can help your Boomer clients on both accounts.

For Boomers Looking to Buy or Build Their Aging-in-Place Home

Help these clients think through what their future needs for aging-in-place homes will be.

Begin with properties or land to build that are single-level, have enough privacy, offer interesting ground level-views and that are easily maintained. Senior-friendly design and structural features include versatile open spaces, minimal if any stairs and wider doorways and hallways that are wheelchair accessible and barrier free without thresholds across the entire floor.  No bath tubs…zero-threshold showers instead.

For Boomers Looking to Upgrade Their Existing Homes

Dr. Rodney Harrell, vice president for Family, Home and Community with AARP, says that upgrading existing homes to ideal age-in-place homes can start at any time and can be done gradually.  Harrell suggests beginning with tasks such as…

  • Task lighting in kitchens to accommodate for fading eyesight
  • Multi-height countertops in the kitchen so people can stand or sit while preparing food
  • Nonslip tiles and grab bars in the bathroom
  • Relocating certain electrical outlets to be 18 to 24 inches high, rather than 12 inches off the floor
  • Using larger wattage or lumen bulbs
  • Contrasting colors between walls and floors and between finishes wherever height levels change
  • Pullout microwave drawers and kitchen drawers into kitchen islands
  • Wall oven units with French doors to eliminate leaning over a home oven door
  • Induction stove tops
  • Doors with lever handles

Bigger changes can include enlarging doorways for wheelchair and/or walker access and adding ramps to eliminate stairs.

“Lifelong Home” Resources

AARP just released HomeFit, an AR app on iOS that can scan a room and suggest improvements that will mitigate mobility and safety risks.   This new AR app is an extension of AARP’s HomeFit Guide available online

Go to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for certified aging-in-place specialists (remodelers, architects, designers, occupational therapists) who can recommend home modifications that will enable people to age independently in their homes.  Agents, housing professionals and the public have access to this three-day intensive certification program.  This NAHB program was created in collaboration with AARP and other experts.

Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have room-specific merchandise online and product installation under the programs called “Accessible Home” and “Independent Living,” respectively.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) Also Facilitate “Lifelong “ Multigenerational Living

Realtor.com®i indicates that searches for homes with already existing ADUs outpaced the rest of the market in April 2021.  Also, homes with ADUs spent 35 DOM in April, 21 fewer days compared to last year at the same time.

 

Thanks to the US Census Bureau, The New York Times, Realtor.com® and the National Association of Home Builders.

 

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