Why You Should Work With an Aging in Place Specialist

Would you prefer to continue living in your home when you retire? Roughly 90% of American seniors answered, “yes.” Unfortunately, many of today’s houses aren’t built with seniors in mind. They lack hallways wide enough for walkers, wheelchair-accessible ramps, grab bars and handrails, and countless other additions that make homes comfortable spaces to live as you age with grace. 

That’s when working with a home remodeler who is also a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) comes in handy. 

Certified aging in place specialists understand the specific needs of seniors. They’re experts in transforming houses so that people continue to live comfortable lives in the place they call home. 

In this post, we’ll talk about:

  • What aging in place specialists can do
  • Why aging in place specialists are more important than ever
  • The benefits of working with an aging in place specialist
  • Pathway’s specialized approach to aging in place 

Let’s get started…


What Can Aging in Place Specialists Do?

Certified aging in place specialists earn their designation by taking a multicourse education program created by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). 

Home remodelers who are also aging in place specialists can improve functionality in your kitchen and bathrooms by making everything easier to reach, open, and operate. They can also reduce the risk of slips and trips by adding grab bars and slip-resistant flooring. These specialists also update your lighting fixtures and add additional sources, making it easier to see and maneuver around your home. 

These specialists stay in the know about building codes and standards, and collaborate with other aging in place experts, such as occupational therapists, to enhance your experience. 


Why Aging in Place Specialists Are More Important Than Ever 

Here’s the good news: People are living longer. 

The 2020 US Census found that about 56.1 million (17% of the population) Americans are over 65. That number is projected to increase over the next 40 years:

Year Estimated People Over 65 US Population (%)
2020 56.1 million 17%
2030 73.1 million 21%
2040 80.8 million 22%
2050 85.7 million 22%
2060 94.7 million 23%

Here’s the bad news: Only 10% of the 115 million US housing units are ready to accommodate seniors aging in place. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 30 million seniors fall every year, and one in five of these falls cause serious harm. Also:

  • Roughly 11 million older Americans have trouble walking or taking the stairs
  • 7 million have difficulty living on their own
  • Nearly 4 million have problems dressing or bathing themselves

The more senior-friendly homes we have, the easier it’ll be for older Americans to age with grace and live comfortable lives. 


Benefits of Working With Aging in Place Specialists

Living in a comfortable, safe environment is arguably the greatest pro for aging in place, but it’s far from the only benefit. 

Here’s what else you get when working with a certified aging in place home remodeler:


You Get to Maintain Your Independence

As you age, physical and cognitive changes can make daily tasks more difficult. You might need help from others to do things like cook, clean, or get dressed in the morning. With the help of your loved ones or professional caregivers, you can maintain some degree of independence while continuing to live in your home. 

You lose some of this independence at a senior or assisted living facility. Instead of having control over your daily routine or decision-making, you may depend on the nursing staff, who are also attending to other seniors. 


You May Experience Better Mental and Physical Health

In some situations, living in a nursing or assisted living facility is better for your health. However, this isn’t always the case. Leaving the place you’ve called home for 10, 20, or 50 years to move into one of these facilities can take a tremendous emotional toll on someone. Sometimes, this can lead to stress, anxiety, or depression, which can accelerate cognitive and physical decline. 

Studies also show that seniors who reside in long-term care facilities are at “particularly high risk for infection, morbidity, and mortality from pneumonia and influenza” compared to older adults living in their homes. 


You Can Save Money

Renovating your home to make it senior-friendly costs money. Still, it usually pales in comparison to how expensive nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be. Also, you’ll enjoy the many financial benefits of renovating your home for aging in place, including: 

  • Increased resale value
  • Decreased future costs
  • Tax breaks
  • Reduced utility bills
  • Reduced insurance costs

While costs vary by location, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the monthly median cost for staying in an assisted living facility in the Seattle area is approximately $6,750. The price tag for a nursing home facility swells to $9,916 per month for a semi-private room and $11,984 for a private room. The average monthly Social Security payment only covers a portion of these costs, and assisted living usually isn’t covered by Medicare. 


You Can Maintain Community Connections

If you’re friends with your neighbors, or frequently have company over, aging in place lets you continue living the life you’ve been living. If you end up moving to an assisted living facility, you’ll be uprooting your life and risk losing some of those connections—or you’ll enjoy them less frequently. 

Studies show that socialization can help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. That said, you may end up having a thriving social life in the facility you move to, but that’s a guarantee. 


Pathway’s Specialized Approach to Aging in Place

At Pathway, we create beautiful and aesthetically pleasing homes and living spaces that are accessible to everyone. Unlike other aging in place specialists, we’re also universal design experts who take a comprehensive approach to our remodeling projects. 


Working together, we can drastically improve your safety and convenience as you age with grace in your home. We don’t just check the boxes that make an aging in place home senior-friendly, we ensure that your residence is eco-friendly and energy-efficient, so you can live a happy, healthy life, with excellent indoor air quality and more savings in your pocket. 


Are you ready to remodel your house into a home you can grow old in? Send us a message today!

Do you like home remodeling tips?

Remodeling your home can be a daunting experience. The Pathway team has taken the time and expertise to create podcast episodes detailing the tips and tricks of the trade.

About Paul Kocharhook

Paul Kocharhook, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, (CAPS), MCGP and Owner of Pathway Design & Construction, based in SODO Seattle. Download your Remodel Reality Check quick sheet and walk through the main points in a remodel project.