Huge Opportunity In Senior-Friendly Housing

The world won’t be able to build enough retirement communities so the only option is to help people reamin living in their houses. This means making them Senior-Friendly.

In the USA, according to the AARP, nine of 10 people older than 50 plan to remain in their homes for as long as their health allows, but most older homes weren’t built to accommodate the frailties of old age.Home

People are having to remodel their bathrooms and kitchens so that they can use both more easily as they grow older. Replaced their bathtub with a step-in shower, enlarging the kitchen and installing pullout shelves. Wheelchair access and a kitchen big enough for two.

With 78 million baby boomers beginning to feel the aches and pains of their years, the “aging in place” market offers a huge potential for remodelers. Half of those boomers expect to make changes to their homes to stay there, the AARP survey said.

Remodelers have found that many older homes are inconvenient and possibly unsafe for anyone not surefooted. They have doorways too narrow for wheelchairs, carpeting too thick for walkers and staircases without continuous handrails. Kitchens where pullout shelves eliminate any stretching or kneeling. The no-slip textured floor discourages falling. The brighter lighting makes recipes more legible.

The recession has also prompted older couples to look more seriously at staying put because people can’t sell their home and can’t afford a senior community, so they’re calling on remodelers to put in barrier-free showers, higher toilets, more grab bars, wider doorways or anything else to help them maneuver around the house.

Just as energy efficiency has become something that buyers look for in homes, so will accessibility, or easy living, become a big plus as the public learns more about it.

In the USA, remodelers report a 74 percent increase over the last year in inquiries from prospective clients interested in making their homes more accessible. Homeowners have begun to include age-related modifications in remodeling projects because they don’t have to compromise on style to do it.

People have started to understand that an age-friendly house doesn’t have to look like a nursing home. For instance, grab bars now come in a variety of styles and finishes that match the faucets and other bathroom hardware. Some changes are so subtle that most people don’t notice. Door levers have replaced knobs and given more independenxce to homeowners with arthritis.

Consumers can choose from many more age-friendly home products than in the past. Coming onto the market are keyless door locks that read fingerprints and home versions of sensor-triggered faucets now found in public restrooms.

SILVER is in the process of creating an audit system that will enable a house, a product or a service to be evaluated against the major effects of ageing to determine their age-friendliness.