New Trends in Aging In Place Home Remodeling

Baby Boomers Are Driving Aging In Place and Universal Design Trends

According to the U.S. Census, the population of Wisconsin is aging. The median age in the state in 2010 was 38.5 -- a 2.5-year increase from the 2000 census. Largely fueled by the Baby Boom generation, the Wisconsin population is projected to continue to age. With an aging population comes new ideas in caring for the state's older residents. One way is the incorporation of those elements of universal design that apply to aging in homes and buildings. 

Rethinking Aging in Place

When you talk to people about making adjustments to their home to accommodate their needs as they age, many envision unattractive elements that look more like they belong in a hospital room than a home bedroom. However, Baby Boomers who are looking at aging on their own terms are driving home renovation and universal design trends across the country. Single-floor living and eliminating steps at entry ways are one way to accommodate people with physical limitations, but so are other less obvious adjustments, like lever-handled doorknobs, carpeting and soft flooring, shelves that pull out, and electrical outlets that are higher off the floor.

Responding to Demand

Because so many Baby Boomers are considering aging in place, contractors and design firms are looking to universal design as a way to meet their needs. The Remodeling Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found in a survey it conducted that 80% of remodeling companies are doing aging-in-place projects, up from 68% in 2013. These modifications include many elements found in a home that incorporates universal design, and others that provide a unique take on the universal design concept, including walk-in showers made of stone instead of fiberglass, reinforced fixtures that look like towel bars but serve as grab bars, wider doorways as part of an open-concept floor plan, and creative placement of LED and energy-efficient lighting.

Adopting a Smart Home

Home technology has made it easier for many Americans to live at home as they get older, however, some "smart home" technology is more of a hassle for older people than a help. While a phone app to adjust the temperature or turn on lights in another room could be helpful to some, navigating the technology may be an obstacle. A survey by Home Advisor found that learning the technology is the main reason why many older Americans have avoided adopting new home devices and that help from more tech savvy, younger friends and family members could enable a safer home life. Baby Boomers typically don't shy away from new trends or challenges, and as a result adoption of these technologies in homes is expected to continue.

See how we created a custom sliding shower door that operates like a barn door!

Home Improvement Trends 

A number of home improvement trends may not appear to be designed for aging in place at first glance, but can be useful in adopting a universal design concept. Easy to reach cabinets, pocket doors, comfort-height appliances, eliminating thresholds and other universal design features are already found in many modern homes with little notice. 

The goal for aging in place and universal design is to create a space where everyone can navigate comfortably. Because of the growth in an aging population and the demand for these amenities, adding them to a home is a great investment.

If you have questions about aging-in-place or using universal design to make your home accessible and ensure a better quality of life as you grow older, contact us. We have provided aging-in-place remodeling services to clients in greater Madison, Wis. for may years and we would welocome the opportunity to discuss your project.

Simple modifications can easily make your home more accessible for aging in place. See how this stairway was converted to a stairway that accommodates a walker creating a much safer entrance for this homeowner. Madison , WI

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 6/25/18

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.