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 called 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 facilitate aging-in-place. 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 earned 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 special 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:
• Am I worried about preventing falls?
• 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 bath and shower grab bars and adjusting countertop heights. Others may require major renovations such as the creation of a multi-functional first floor master suite or the 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. Helping give them the gift of aging-in-place is quite rewarding.”
Baxter Construction, 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell. 609-466-3655. www.baxterconstruction.com