Portfolio: Aging In Place

Let HSA Help You Prepare for Your Future Today

The day we are born we begin to age. Until we find that elusive Fountain of Youth, the clock will continue to click forward, never backward. And while few among us like to admit to aging, many of us have decided that when we do age, we want to do so gracefully, in our own homes, with as much independence as possible.

Trained home remodelers can help us comfortably "age in place." One such remodeler is Homeowner Services of America (HSA). David Rhoads, HSA's founder, owner, and president, has earned the CAPS designation – Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist – from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). HSA specializes in remodeling homes for senior citizens, physically challenged people, and others with special needs.

The bathtub was removed, the bathroom enlarged and a roll-in shower installed as part of the aging in place modifications for this elderly couple.

This tile shower is a roll-in with a collapsible threshold to contain the water, assist bars, fold-up seat and recesses for bathing supplies.

This tile shower is a roll-in with a collapsible threshold to contain the water, assist bars, fold-up seat and recesses for bathing supplies.

What You Can Do Now to Begin "Aging in Place"

"Aging in place" means living in your home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of your age or physical ability. It addresses the need to remodel existing homes – and design new homes – so aging people can remain there and not have to move to assisted living facilities. Since most current homes are not well designed for aging occupants, a movement in residential construction has arisen to meet the demand.

What is the easiest way to prepare for "aging in place"? Consider including universal design features for usability and convenience when you embark on any new remodeling project – even if your need for these features still seems to be well down the road. You can add the features now, at a relatively low cost, rather than wait until your later years, when they become a necessity, and you urgently need to retrofit your home completely.

This wheelchair lift was installed in the garage so the client could leave his home without assistance.

At right you will find a list of usability and convenience features that can be added during a remodeling project for little extra cost to you. See also the Remodeling website's "Home for Life" Virtual Home Tour, showcasing how to remodel a home to save money and live well throughout the retirement years.

certified aging in place specialist logo

CAPS certification, taught by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), was created in collaboration with the American Association of Retired People (AARP). A CAPS-designated home remodeler can help you create a home that is livable for your lifespan. You will learn much more – including answers to frequently asked questions about "aging in place" – on the NAHB website.

Getting Safely and Securely In and Out of the House

  • Better outdoor lighting, such as path lighting to the front or rear door
  • Attractive ramps or a "zero step entrance" for the home
  • Package shelf by the front door
  • Handrails at steps and porches
  • One-story ranch or first-floor master suite designs for new homes

Changes in the Kitchen for Easier Meal Preparation and Eating

  • Lever-handle faucets with pull-out spray
  • Raised dishwasher to avoid back strain (a good idea for front-loading washers and dryers too)
  • Rolling island that can be placed under the counter
  • Revolving corner shelves and pull-out shelves
  • Side-by-side refrigerator with slide-out shelves and a water/ice dispenser
  • Cooking range with controls on front
  • Larger, friendlier cabinet and drawer pulls

Changes in the Bathroom – The Number One Place for Accidents in the Home

  • Two or three attractive-looking grab bars in the shower
  • Lever handles on faucets
  • Slidebar-type hand-held shower, for sitting or standing
  • Curbless showers – there is nothing to step over, and they can be rolled into, if a wheelchair becomes necessary later
  • Tub and shower controls moved closer to entry point
  • Anti-scald, temperature- and pressure-balanced tub shower valves for safer bathing
  • Entry doors at least 32 inches wide
  • This sink is a wall hung unit to allow for a wheelchair user in the future, if necessary.

    This tile shower is a roll-in with a collapsible threshold to contain the water, assist bars, fold-up seat and recesses for bathing supplies.

    Moving Around in the House

    • Improved lighting with recessed fixtures in common areas and hallways
    • Lever handles on doors and windows
    • Lowered light switches and thermostats, and raised electrical outlets
    • Planning for future elevator, by stacking closets
    • Blocking in walls for future chair lift at stairs
    • Doors that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers