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The Growing American Emphasis on Accessibility

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Elite Remodeling

November 5, 2019  |  2 minute read

1 in 10 US households aged 65 to 79 complete a self-funded home improvement/accessibility project each year, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies. The study finds that this statistic grows to 14% of those households 80 or older.

While the total household population headed by individuals over the age of 50 increased by roughly 5 million from 2012 to 2017, 80% of that increase was households headed by individuals over the age of 65.

Households Aging at a Higher Rate

Over the next 19 years, the oldest age groups will grow the most and lift the share of households aged 65 and over from 26% of the total population to 34% in 2038.

The study states that only 3.5% of all US homes have basic accessibility features, such as handrails and grab-bars, extra-wide doors and hallways, and ground floor bedrooms.

While retirement communities inevitably have more advanced accessibility features than private homes, their occupancy is slipping down. According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care market fundamentals report, occupancy rates are at the lowest since 2011.

Thus indicating a significant difference from the previous generation of empty nesters who looked forward to retirement communities and lives of leisure. The trend is moving much more towards aging in place for the current crop of retires and seniors.

 

Accessibility Remedies

Mobility and vision problems are typically the most prominent remedy to solve. Starting with basic requirements from commercial standards by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, there are some relatively simple ways to address the vast majority of accessibility needs. Adapting them to your home in a seamless way with style and grace is a more complicated problem that deserves the assistance of a professional.

Bathrooms may be reconfigured to allow for more space for mobility. Comfort level toilets, bath bars (grab bars), and step-through tubs and showers can all improve accessibility and freedom.

Of course, chair lifts and ramps are solutions that need to be designed to the specific home and space and not just added without careful consideration. Lighted switches, cover plates, outlets, and motion-activated lighting can be both convenient and add safety.

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can present further unique challenges. Many times, an Alzheimer’s patient may be adequately mobile, but the disease will make them more likely to forget where they are and where they are going. Door chimes can enhance the caregiver’s ability to stay alert when caring for an Alzheimer’s patient in the home.

A Local Partner You Can Trust

Elite Remodeling is the only Remodeler in Dallas to have nationally certified kitchen and bath designers, remodelers, and accessibility specialists on staff by NAHB, NKBA, and NARI.

NARI | National Association of the Remodeling Industry:

Certified Remodeler (CR)

NAHB | National Association of Home Builders

Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS)

& Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR)

NKBA | National Kitchen & Bath Association

Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers (CKBD)

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