Remodeling to Make Accommodations

by Jerry Leen - Date: 2007-02-01 - Word Count: 689 Share This!

When you think of home remodeling, you probably think of extending a room or changing cabinets in a kitchen or modernizing an older home. Yet there is a whole new market of people needing home renovations - the elderly.

Renovations for the Elderly:

According to a recent CNN report, home renovations for the elderly are on the rise. These types of renovations are the fastest-growing segment of the remodeling industry, said James Lapides of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). NAHB's recent study concluded that 75 percent of remodeling companies have seen an increase in requests for so-called "aging-in-place" work.

The "Certified Aging in Place" Specialist program, offered by the NAHB Remodelers Council to teach professionals how to modify homes for older adults, has increased in enrollment, according to Lapides. Representatives of NAHB and the AARP created the program in 2002. Over 1,000 participants have learned building techniques and structural awareness for accommodating physical needs. (CNN, "Builders: Home Renovations for Elderly on the Rise", by Grace Wong)

Statistics Show Elderly Want to Stay in Their Homes:

According to the AARP, 83% of people over 45 own their own homes. A 2003 AARP survey, "These Four Walls," sampled this group and found that 75% expect to stay there for the rest of their lives. 51% envision making changes so that can happen.

In addition, The National Association of Home Builders conducted a survey of remodelers and learned that:

75% reported getting more requests for "aging in place" projects

60% had done "aging in place" projects. Of those:

43% were for customers aged 45 to 54

76% were for customers aged 55 to 64

67% were for customers 65 and older

Remodelers reported that clients wanted aging-in-place remodeling because:

75% were planning for future needs

53% were living with older parents

46% had acute, age-related disabilities

23% had acute disabilities unrelated to aging

(, "Elegant Remodels Allow 'Aging in Place'", by Marilyn Lewis)

A Remodeling Project:

Some families are bringing older relatives to live with them and extending a part of the house to accommodate that change. Others are making modifications for physical reasons, such as widening doorways for wheelchairs, lowering bathtub walls and adding support bars. Other modifications simply include updating an older home because of wear and tear. However, the going trend is to do it all with style.

An example of an accommodating remodeling project occurred in a California backyard. A playhouse was rebuilt to become a livable apartment for one family's 70 year-old father with Paget's disease. Building aspects of the apartment include a walk-in shower with no obstructing ledge at the entrance, two-inch-square commercial nonskid tile, lever handles instead of doorknobs and an anti-scald device to keep water temperature even. (, "Elegant Remodels Allow 'Aging in Place'", by Marilyn Lewis)

Suggestions for Remodeling:

If you are contemplating a remodeling project, keep the future in mind. You can make simple changes now for what may be needed many years in the future. Sam Clark, a builder and author of "The Real Goods Independent Builder: Designing & Building a House Your Own Way" and "Remodeling a Kitchen", provides the following suggestions for changes to make to your home to accommodate the physical bodily changes that occur over time:

Remodel your home so that you can live on the ground level if necessary.

Widen doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.

Plan the front entry to be as level with the ground as local building codes allow. Eliminate stairs with sloping sidewalks.

Try to think way ahead. For example, in a bathroom remodel, install reinforcement for grab bars.

Plan for a lot of storage within the "optimal reach zone" - the space between 20 inches and 44 inches above the floor to a depth of 20 inches away from your body.

Use drawers instead of cupboards where possible.

Install lever handles throughout the house.

Use hard flooring or choose an attractive, low-pile commercial carpet.

Place electric outlets higher than usual and switches lower.

Install a shelf outside the front door so you can put down packages while searching for keys.

Additional tips from the Home Remodelers in New Jersey ( further suggests vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is made to look like real wood and it never needs painting, preventing any hazardous maintenance or painting. Vinyl windows are also suggested; they are easy to clean and energy efficient.

Related Tags: home remodeling, home improvement remodeling, nj, home remodeling contractor, remodeling contractor

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