There’s no place like home. In a recent survey conducted by AARP, the nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of those 50+, eight out of 10 people age 45 and older say they want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. This is possible by creating “livable homes” (also known as aging in place), and it’s a growing trend.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the remodeling industry’s fastest growing segment involves home modifications that create livable homes. This is no surprise, given that people 65 years and older account for about 14 percent of the U.S. population. NAHB developed a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program to teach professionals how to meet the evolving needs of this baby boomer generation.

Jim Baxter, who holds the CAPS designation, is the award-winning owner of Baxter Construction, based in Hopewell. Baxter has worked with Central Jersey homeowners and architects to build and renovate homes since 1980, and he offers his take on this issue: “Aging-in-place means remaining in one’s home safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the extraordinary events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a ‘home’ for a lifetime.” The goal of such modifications is to increase access and maneuverability. To help his clients figure out their exact needs, Baxter asks them to consider these questions:

• How can I make my kitchen more functional?

• Do I want to add a bathroom and possibly a bedroom to the main level?

• Will other members of my family benefit from modifications?

• Will remodeling increase the energy efficiency of my home?

Their answers help Baxter formulate a plan. For some clients, it might mean making minor modifications such as installing supports behind walls to allow for future installation of bath and shower grab bars. Others may require major renovations such as the creation of a multi-functional first floor master suite or an in-law suite if aging parents need care. Stacking closets on different floors will allow for the future installation of a private elevator. Whatever their needs may be, Baxter considers it a privilege to help his clients improve the functionality of their space. “My mature clients appreciate design that can be beautiful as well as practical. Giving them the gift of a livable home is quite rewarding.”

In October of 2017 at the NAHB Remodeling Show in Nashville, Jim expanded his knowledge of livable homes when he attended an all-day seminar titled “Details and Solutions for Livable Homes and Aging In Place.” This seminar is the most recent development in the rapidly growing realm of livable homes, offering in-depth information about up to the minute options available to those interested in making their home safe and comfortable for people of all abilities.

To learn more about livable homes/aging in place visit the Baxter website or call the office.

Baxter Construction, 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell. 609-466-3655.

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