Senior care isn't just about traditional caregiving. Home services franchises can also give seniors a comfortable home in their golden years by providing a variety of alterations.
Social welfare organization AARP found that 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. “My parents bought their home in 1954 and my mom lived there for 55 years,” says Wanda Gozdz, a certified aging-in-place specialist. “To stay in our forever homes, we have to adapt our environments for safety, accessibility and security.”
Seniors staying in their homes longer, instead of moving into specialty residences like assisted living or nursing homes, is referred to as “aging-in-place.” This phenomenon has become a significant factor in the growth of home services franchises.
“Seventy-five percent of remodelers report an increase in inquiries related to aging-in-place,” says April Scarlett of Mr. Handyman. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates the growing aging-in-place remodeling market to already be worth $20-$25 billion. That’s about 10% of the $214 billion home improvement industry.
According to Mr. Handyman, some of the main alterations being made to senior’s homes include:
- Changing yellow light bulbs to white and blue light (easier to see)
- Adding delineation to the tops and bottoms of staircases with a landing pads
- Re-enforcing stair railings
- Adding grab bars in bathrooms
- Replacing door knobs with door lever handles that are easier to open
- Lowering cabinets in the kitchen
- Creating barrier free doorways
- Installing ramps in place of stairs
The growth of aging-in-place modifications has become so large that the NAHB has partnered with AARP to develop the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists program (CAPS) to “meet the increasing demand by seniors and baby boomers for barrier-free living environments.”
According to the NAHB, the goal of the CAPS program is “to teach individuals involved in residential design and construction about the requirements of older adults who are balancing current and future needs for autonomy and independence with equal desires for safety and security.”
While all of this focus is going to seniors, it’s important to note: these changes can also be made in the homes of people of any age that experience a change in their mobility, or encounter the need for different accommodation within their homes.
Aging-in-place is part of a part of the overall trend of people staying in their homes longer, another upside for home services franchises.
Though testing the housing market and moving to new areas has become more common since the recession lifted, a significant number of homeowners have found living in their homes longer to be a more attractive option than moving.
The increase in long-term home improvement projects was noted by Indianapolis-based architect Mark Demerly in an interview with Forbes. Before the recession, houses were often purchased and fixed up for a two-to-three year period before homeowners moved on. “Now it’s more like 6 to 10 years,” says Demerly.