The business side of ageing-in-place

It’s now well known that ageing-in-place is the preferred retirement option for many older people.They want to remain in the familiar surroundings of their home than to move into purpose built communities for older people.

Here are two business opportunities arising from this trend:

Virtual Retirement Village

These communities offer paid memberships that provide many of the amenities available at a real retirement home, but allow residents to stay where they live.

As reported on Fox News, there are now more than 100 villages in nearly 40 US states. Some of these villages span large areas, such as NEST Seattle, which includes 14 neighbourhoods. The median number of members in a given community increased from 72 in 2011 to 96 last year, according to a 2012 study by Rutgers University.

Each virtual retirement community varies depending on the people involved, but they share some common benefit:

  • A list of preferred service providers for residents
  • Transportation networks
  • Social events

Do they make money for the operators? It’s probably too soon to tell but it seems to be a great solution to the isolation that often accompanies age.

Home modificationsBathroom

One alternative that is becoming increasingly more popular is to adapt the home to make it more age-friendly. There is now an industry of experts in the ageing-in-place concept. In the USA, the National Association of Home Builders, offers a certification for licensed builders who want to concentrate and expand their skills for the ageing population.

Here are some of the common modifications required:

  • Grab bars in the bathroom over the tub and/or in the shower
  • For people in wheelchairs or using a walker, consider a ramp over the stairs. This would apply even for an apartment or condo with a low threshold.
  • Reduce the step-up on stairs from the traditional 7 inches to 4 inches.
  • Take out the tub and put in a shower — with the proper safeguards. (65,000 serious injuries happen in showers each year). A roll-in shower for people in wheelchairs can be built, with no lip or step and a drain slightly below floor level.
  • Keep the tub and turn it into a walk-in. There are replacement walk-in tubs that can be expensive.
  • Standard bathroom doors are 24 inches wide; the doorway can be widened to 30 or 32 inches by using offset hinges.
  • Replace round doorknobs with levers. Use the ‘closed-fist test’ to try to open the door or turn on the tap.
  • Tables and kitchen counters can be made to accommodate residents in wheelchairs.
  • Kitchen ranges can be installed with controls in the front. Microwaves can be mounted lower for easier access.
  • For residents with walkers or wheelchairs, vinyl or wooden floors are better than carpet.
  • Deadbolt locks can be installed with a remote button, similar to what is used on many new cars, along with the traditional key.

See the full article here.

There’s certainly money to be made in helping people to age well.