Most Baby Boomers not prepared to age in their own homes
October 17, 2016 | 4:06 pm UTC
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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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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.