GOLDEN, Col. -  Aging homeowners understand typical aging-related remodeling projects - from bathtub bars to wheelchair ramps - but view them as irrelevant, according to a new study of the subject.
More than 86 percent of the aging Baby Boomer generation of homeowners surveyed are familiar with common aging-related renovations, but less than a quarter (22 percent) have completed an aging-related project. The report by HomeAdvisor, a remodeling contractor locator service, discusses the need for a new dialogue about aging in place and suggests three solutions to achieve this: change the perception, focus on livability and maximize smart-home technology.
“For an aging population of homeowners who plan to maintain an active lifestyle, traditional aging-related renovations aren’t only unnecessary, they’re unwanted,” says the authhor, Marianne Cusato, who prepared the report and is HomeAdvisor’s Housing Advisor. “It’s time to change the conversation from medically-oriented aging-in-place renovations, such as adding grab bars, to thriving-in-place projects that homeowners of any age can enjoy.” 

Highlights of the Aging-in-Place Report

The perception is aging-related projects are solely for elderly or disabled homeowners. Among homeowners who’ve never considered a renovation, 40 percent say it’s because they don’t have a physical disability and 20 percent say they don’t consider themselves old enough for such a project.
Homeowners are planning to stay in their homes but aren’t preparing to do so. A majority of homeowners (61%) are planning to stay in their home indefinitely as they age and the aging-in-place dialogue needs to shift to how aging-related tasks, including adding extra kitchen seating and open floor plans can help homeowners thrive in place and make their homes more livable regardless of age.
Smart-home technology supports independence, but is being under-utilized to help older homeowners improve their livability. Two-thirds (67 percent) of homeowners over age 55 believe smart-home technology could help them as they age, yet fewer than 1 in 5 (19 percent) have actually considered installing it for such purposes.
The report also reveals the most popular types of smart-home technology to help homeowners thrive in place. The three types of technology homeowners are most interested in include home security, thermostats, and lighting.  
“Smart-home technology, such as smart-home lighting, which can prevent falls when entering a dark room, is no longer only for the tech-savvy homeowner,” says Cusato. “The current generation of smart-home gadgets can provide comfort and safety, as well as significantly add to the home’s livability.”
The 2016 Report is comprised of results from a recent survey conducted among homeowners and HomeAdvisor’s network of prescreened home professionals. For the complete Aging-in-Place Report, click here.  

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