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How to Earn Your CAPS Certification – Aging In Place

janet engel
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If you’re passionate about creating inclusive and comfortable environments for older adults, earning your CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) certification can open up rewarding opportunities in the field of aging in place.

The CAPS certification, offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), equips professionals like general contractors, interior designers, PT’s, and social workers with the knowledge and skills necessary to design and modify homes for aging individuals, enabling them to live safely and independently in their own residences.

Whether you’re a builder, remodeler, architect, occupational therapist, or any professional interested in helping older adults age in place, obtaining your CAPS certification is a valuable step towards enhancing the lives of seniors and their families.

Aging in place home modifications and Universal Design concepts for Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry.

In this article, we’ll explore the process of earning your CAPS certification and highlight the benefits it brings to both your career and the aging-in-place community as subject matter experts with a CAPS credential from the NAHB.

CAP certification holders are sought after by home owners and allied professionals for attractive and sound design concepts.

If you are interested in earning your CAPS certification, please view my calendar for upcoming CAPS courses and Universal Design. 

What Are CAPS Courses?

CAPS courses are specialized training programs designed to provide professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to become Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists.

These courses are offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and are a crucial component of earning the CAPS certification.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics related to aging in place, including universal design principles, home modifications, accessibility considerations, and communication strategies with older adults and their families.

The courses are typically divided into three main segments: Marketing and Communication Strategies for the Aging In Place Client (CAPS I), Design Concepts for Livable Homes and Aging in Place (CAPS II), and Details and Solutions for Livable Homes and Aging in Place (CAPS III).

Each course provides comprehensive training and equips professionals with the expertise necessary to create safe, accessible, and comfortable living environments for older adults.

Cost Of Becoming A Certified Aging In Place Specialist?

The cost of becoming a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) can vary depending on several factors, including your location, the training provider, and any additional expenses you may incur. Here are some general cost considerations to keep in mind:

1. CAPS Courses: The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers the CAPS courses, and the cost of each course can range from a few hundred dollars to around a thousand dollars. The total cost will depend on whether you take all three courses (CAPS I, CAPS II, and CAPS III) and if you are an NAHB member or non-member (members usually receive discounted rates).

2. Membership: Joining the NAHB as a member can offer benefits such as discounted course fees and access to additional resources and networking opportunities. Membership fees can vary depending on your membership level and location.

3. Certification Fee: Once you have completed all the required courses, there is a certification fee to become a CAPS. This fee is typically between $100 and $250 dollars and covers the administrative costs of processing your certification.

4. Additional Expenses: You may need to consider additional expenses such as travel costs if you need to attend in-person courses or workshops. Additionally, there might be costs associated with study materials, textbooks, or any supplementary resources you choose to invest in.

It’s important to note that these costs are approximate and can vary, so it’s best to check with the NAHB or specific training providers for the most up-to-date and accurate pricing information.

How Is The ECHM Certification Different From The CAPS Certification

The ECHM (Executive Certificate in Home Modifications) certification and the CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) certification are both credentials that focus on the field of home modifications and accessibility for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

However, they differ in their specific focus and the organizations that offer them. Here’s a breakdown of the main differences:

1. Focus: The CAPS certification, offered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), emphasizes the overall concept of aging in place and creating accessible living environments for older adults.

It covers a wide range of topics, including universal design principles, home modifications, and communication strategies.

The CAPS certification is geared towards professionals involved in the home building, remodeling, and design industries.

On the other hand, the ECHM certification, offered by the University of Southern California (USC) Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, specifically focuses on the management and business aspects of home modifications.

It provides training in areas such as business planning, marketing, financial management, and policy considerations.

The ECHM certification is designed for professionals interested in the business side of home modifications, including entrepreneurs, managers, and consultants.

2. Organization: The CAPS certification is administered by the NAHB, a well-established industry association for home builders and remodelers. The NAHB has a long-standing reputation and offers a range of resources and networking opportunities to its members.

The ECHM certification, on the other hand, is offered by the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, which is renowned for its expertise in gerontology and aging-related fields. The certification program leverages the research and knowledge base of USC to provide specialized training in home modifications management.

In summary, while both certifications focus on home modifications and accessibility, the CAPS certification emphasizes the design and construction aspects, while the ECHM certification focuses on the management and business aspects.

The choice between the two depends on your specific interests and career goals within the field of home modifications.

What Is The Most Common Aging In Place Remodeling Project?

One of the most common aging-in-place remodeling projects is the modification of bathrooms. Bathrooms are areas where individuals may face challenges as they age due to limited mobility, balance issues, or the need for assistive devices.

Therefore, making bathrooms more accessible and safer is a crucial aspect of aging in place. Some common remodeling projects in bathrooms include:

1. Installing Grab Bars: Adding grab bars near toilets, bathtubs, and showers can provide stability and support for individuals when maneuvering in the bathroom.

2. Installing Walk-In Showers or Bathtubs: Replacing traditional tubs or showers with walk-in models eliminates the need to step over high barriers, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

3. Adding Shower Seats: Installing fold-down or built-in shower seats allows individuals to sit while showering, improving comfort and safety.

4. Increasing Accessibility: Making the bathroom more accessible may involve widening doorways, installing lever-style faucets, lowering countertops, and ensuring there is enough space for maneuvering mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers.

5. Improving Lighting and Contrast: Enhancing lighting with brighter bulbs, adding motion-sensor lights, and improving contrast between floor, walls, and fixtures can help individuals with visual impairments navigate the bathroom more easily.

It’s important to note that while bathroom remodeling is common, aging-in-place modifications can also be made in other areas of the home, such as entryways, bedrooms, and kitchens, to improve overall accessibility and safety for older adults.

The specific remodeling projects needed will depend on the individual’s needs, mobility limitations, and the layout of their home.

What Is The Growth Potential In A Career As A CAPS Professional?

A career as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) professional can offer significant growth potential due to several factors:

1. Increasing Aging Population: The global population is aging, with a growing number of older adults seeking to remain in their homes and communities as they age. This demographic trend creates a demand for professionals who can provide expertise in modifying homes to meet the needs of aging individuals. As the aging population continues to expand, the demand for CAPS professionals is likely to increase as well.

2. Rising Awareness of Aging-in-Place: There is a growing recognition of the benefits of aging in place, both in terms of improved quality of life for older adults and the potential cost savings compared to institutional care. This increased awareness has led to a greater emphasis on home modifications and accessibility, creating opportunities for CAPS professionals to provide their expertise in meeting these needs.

3. Diverse Career Paths: The CAPS certification equips professionals with a versatile skill set that can be applied in various roles and industries. CAPS professionals can work as builders, remodelers, architects, occupational therapists, consultants, or even start their own businesses focusing on aging-in-place modifications. This flexibility allows for career growth and the ability to explore different avenues within the aging-in-place field.

4. Collaboration Opportunities: CAPS professionals often collaborate with other professionals such as healthcare providers, social workers, and community organizations. This collaborative approach can lead to networking opportunities, partnerships, and the ability to expand professional connections, ultimately contributing to career growth.

5. Ongoing Education and Advancement: The field of aging-in-place is continuously evolving, with advancements in technology, design, and research. CAPS professionals have the opportunity to stay current with industry trends and advancements through ongoing education and professional development. This commitment to lifelong learning allows for personal and career growth within the aging-in-place field.

Overall, the growth potential in a career as a CAPS professional is promising due to the increasing demand, expanding market, diverse career paths, and the opportunity for ongoing education and advancement. By staying informed, building a solid reputation, and continuously improving skills, CAPS professionals can position themselves for long-term success and growth in this rewarding field.

How A CAPS Certification Can Help Advance Your Career

The CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) designation offers a unique opportunity for building professionals to enhance their career in the field of aging-in-place.

With a focus on business management and best practices, CAPS professionals gain the necessary skills to serve customers and their families effectively.

By applying their expertise in home modifications, CAPS professionals can help older adults remain in their own homes, ensuring safety and comfort.

The designation equips professionals with customer service skills to engage with clients and their family members, understanding their needs and providing tailored solutions.

By embracing the CAPS designation, building professionals can elevate their business, contribute to the well-being of older adults, and make a lasting impact in the field of aging-in-place.

The right choices in pursuing the CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) designation program can lead to a rewarding career as a multi-site supervisor in the field of aging-in-place.

The comprehensive CAPS curriculum provides valuable knowledge for working with clients in their own homes, collaborating with interior designers, and implementing best practices.

Successful completion of the CAPS program grants professionals a lapel pin, signifying their expertise and good standing within the industry.

By utilizing their skills, such as recommending additional task lighting and creating a livable home environment, CAPS professionals can cater to the specific needs of the baby boom generation and tap into a large population of potential clients.

To maintain their certification, individuals must fulfill annual renewal fees and stay updated on industry advancements.

Additionally, CAPS professionals have the opportunity to expand their market niche by pursuing the Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor designation, further enhancing their expertise and career prospects.

The CAP certification exam serves as a comprehensive assessment of one’s knowledge and skills, solidifying their credentials and establishing them as trusted professionals in the field.

How I Can Help You Achieve Your Career Or Business Goals

As an Occupational Therapist specializing in home modifications through my extensive work and experience in the field of home health and geriatrics, I can help you embark on the journey to becoming an entrepreneur or simply expand your knowledge in this expanding field, regardless of  your education, training, or background.

There is a huge need and very few professionals who are knowledgeable about how to create a home that will enable older adults to age in place and continue to have quality of life as they age.

Please view my calendar for upcoming CAPS courses and Universal Design. 

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