The aging-in-place trend is rapidly gaining traction, with more older people expressing the desire to remain in their homes as they age.
As a result, the demand for professionals equipped with a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) certification is on the rise.
This article discusses the significance of having a CAPS certification and why professionals in the home building and remodeling industry should consider it.
How Fast Is The Over 65 Population Growing?
The aging population is one of the most significant demographic trends of our time.
In the United States, the number of people aged 65 and older is projected to grow from 56 million in 2020 to 73 million by 2030.
This increase is due to a combination of factors, including declining birth rates and increasing life expectancy.
The aging population has a number of implications for society, including the need for more services that cater to the needs of older adults.
This includes healthcare, long-term care, and social services. Older adults are more likely to have chronic health conditions and require more medical care than younger adults.
In fact, the rate of disability among persons age 65 and older is 36%.
They are also more likely to need assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
The aging population is also driving demand for services that help older adults live independently at home.
This includes home modifications, such as installing grab bars, bathroom modifications, changing your room layout, and ramps, as well as home healthcare and personal care services.
Baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, are a major driver of the aging population.
In 2021, baby boomers made up 26% of the US population. By 2030, they are projected to make up 23% of the population.
Baby boomers are also contributing to the home improvement market.
According to a 2022 report by the National Association of Home Builders, baby boomers make up more than 50% of home improvement sales in the US. This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that baby boomers are more likely to own homes and have more disposable income than younger generations.
Baby boomers are also interested in home improvement projects that make their homes more comfortable, energy efficient, and accessible as they age. This includes projects such as adding universal design features, such as wider doorways and walk-in showers, as well as making energy efficiency improvements, and adding Universal and visitable design features in their home.
According to the NAR Remodeling report, homeowners recoup over 100% of their investment from hardwood floor refinishing (147%) and new wood flooring (118%). Insulation upgrades also provide 100% ROI plus long-term energy savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, insulation upgrades can save you up to 20% in heating and cooling costs. Other home improvement projects, such as basement conversions and closet renovations, offer ROIs of 86% and 83%, respectively.Architectural Digest
The aging population is a major trend that is shaping our society. By planning for the needs of older adults, we can help them live healthy and independent lives.
Here are some specific examples of services that cater to the aging population:
- Home healthcare
- Personal care services
- Adult day care
- Assisted living facilities
- Nursing homes
- Transportation services
- Meal delivery services
- Social services
- Legal services
- Financial planning services
- Travel services
It is important to note that the aging population is not a monolithic group. Older adults have a wide range of needs and preferences.
With the majority of older adults not having “urgent needs.” It is important to offer a variety of services and options so that older adults can choose what is right for them.
The Rise of Aging In Place
In recent years, demographic studies have consistently shown a notable surge in the number of older adults worldwide.
This trend, often referred to as the “graying of the population,” is expected to continue as advancements in healthcare and living standards allow people to live longer, healthier lives.
Alongside this demographic shift, there has been a growing preference among seniors to “age in place.”
The concept of aging in place refers to the decision of seniors to remain in their own homes or communities rather than relocating to institutionalized settings, such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Several factors contribute to this preference:
1. Familiar Surroundings: For many seniors, their home represents a treasure trove of memories. It’s where they’ve celebrated milestones, raised families, and spent countless hours with loved ones. The emotional attachment to one’s home, combined with the familiarity of the neighborhood, local shops, and community members, provides a sense of continuity and belonging that is hard to replicate elsewhere.
2. Independence and Autonomy: One of the most valued aspects of aging in place is the preservation of independence. Many seniors take pride in their ability to manage their daily routines, make choices about their lifestyles, and maintain their privacy. Relocating to a more institutionalized setting can sometimes feel like a loss of autonomy, making the idea of staying at home even more appealing.
3. Cost-Effectiveness: Financial considerations also play a significant role in the decision to age in place. Often, staying at home can be more economical than moving to specialized senior living communities, which can come with hefty monthly fees and no building of equity. By remaining in their homes, older people can also capitalize on real estate appreciation, especially if they’ve lived in their homes for several decades.
4. Personalized Care: Aging in place allows seniors to tailor their living environment to their specific needs. Whether it’s installing grab bars in the bathroom, setting up a home office to pursue hobbies, or creating a garden oasis in the backyard, seniors have the flexibility to adapt their homes to their evolving needs and preferences.
In conclusion, the combination of emotional, practical, and financial benefits makes aging in place a highly attractive option for a significant portion of the senior population.
As this trend continues to gain momentum, it underscores the importance of communities and professionals adapting to support the unique needs of older adults choosing this path.
Understanding CAPS Certification
The Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) certification is a testament to the forward-thinking collaboration between the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Lowes Pro.
Recognizing the growing trend of older adults wishing to remain in their homes as they age, these two prominent organizations joined forces to create a program tailored to address this demographic shift and their needs.
The CAPS program is meticulously designed to provide professionals with in-depth knowledge about the specific challenges and requirements of the aging population. It delves into the nuances of home design, modification, and construction that can make a significant difference in the quality of life for seniors.
At its heart, the program’s primary goal is to ensure that homes are not just livable but are also safe and accessible for older adults.
This encompasses everything from simple modifications like installing grab bars in bathrooms to more comprehensive home redesigns that might include installing an elevator for wheelchair access or single-level living solutions.
Target Audience for CAPS Certification
The value of the CAPS certification extends far beyond the realm of home builders and remodelers.
While these professionals undoubtedly benefit from the insights and techniques taught in the program, a broader spectrum of professionals also stands to gain immensely from this certification.
1. Occupational Therapists: These healthcare professionals often work directly with seniors, helping them adapt to physical changes and challenges. With CAPS certification, they can offer actionable advice on home modifications that can aid in rehabilitation and daily living.
2. Interior Designers: A designer with CAPS certification has the knowledge to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and safe for seniors. This includes understanding the importance of non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, and furniture placement that minimizes fall risks.
3. Stagers: Offer design services tailored to making a space for appealing for resale or for vacation rental.
4. Architects: For architects, the CAPS program offers insights into designing homes or remodeling projects with aging-in-place principles from the ground up. This might involve creating open floor plans, incorporating zero-threshold showers, or ensuring that homes are easily navigable without stairs.
5. Related Professionals: Real estate agents, healthcare providers, builders, general contractors, and even community planners can benefit from understanding the principles of aging in place and Universal Design. This knowledge allows them to better serve an older demographic, ensuring their needs are met and their quality of life is enhanced.
In today’s competitive market, having a CAPS certification not only amplifies a professional’s credibility but also sets them apart as specialists in the field of aging-in-place solutions.
It’s a clear indication to clients and peers alike that the certified professional is committed to understanding and addressing the unique needs of the senior population.
The Benefits of Being CAPS Certified
Obtaining a CAPS certification offers myriad benefits. Professionals can differentiate themselves in a saturated market, cater specifically to the needs of the aging population, and build trust and credibility with their clientele.
Also, aging in place projects tend to be more complex and therefore costly than your average remodel.
Moreover, being CAPS certified grants access to an extensive network of like-minded professionals and a wealth of resources.
If you are interested in the CAPS certification or learning how to implement Universal Design in your work, please contact me, Janet Engel, OT, CAPS, ECHM at 352-281-6681 or email me at email@example.com