Planning ahead when it comes to your home can be the difference between hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with the family in your own kitchen and getting a short visit from one or two people in a retirement home before they head somewhere else to enjoy their day.

Jim Baxter, founder and president of Baxter Construction in Hopewell, sees it happen all too often: someone gets on in years and is no longer able to live in their own home, so they need to move to where it is easier to get through doors or in and out of the tub, simply because they didn’t plan ahead.

For Baxter, planning to age in place is an important consideration. “Familiarize yourself with the idea of staying in your home as you age,” he says. “Be more of a planner. That way you don’t have to react to things; you can have more control over your life.”

Aging in place is a growing trend in home design and construction. Those best prepared to age in place are the ones who renovate and incorporate aging-in-place elements that fit into the space, Baxter says. This is by far preferable to waiting for something to happen that forces you to make changes to accommodate more limited mobility, he says.

Baxter and his team can, for example, build zero-step entryways to your home or tub, fortify bathroom walls to allow for solid grab bars to help you up, widen doorways to allow for easier access to other rooms, convert first-floor rooms into bedrooms with bath access, or renovate kitchens to allow for better movement and mobility.

They can also install fixtures and grab bars or expand accessways to help you move about your home more freely and allow you to stay there longer, or level all the floors to reduce the chances of tripping.

Baxter himself makes a point to keep learning about the newest and best construction trends and ways to incorporate less intrusive age-in-place design elements into the homes his company works on.

His passion for continuing education has brought him numerous certifications, including LEED certification for environmentally friendly construction, as well as certification as an aging-in-place specialist. And after 35 years in business, he knows how important it is to keep learning and growing in an ever-changing field.

He also makes sure his “guys” stay on top of their industry and frequently hosts specialists from across the construction industry, from product manufacturers to specialists, who talk to his crew about new methods for building.

“I try to educate my guys as well,” he says. “I think it’s very important to stay up on things.”

Find out how Baxter Construction can help make your home someplace you’ll always be able to call home. Visit or call 609-466-3655.

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