Replace ‘Aging in Place’ With This Term

October 18, 2016

Seventy-five percent of boomers recently surveyed say they aren't ready to age in their homes and adopt age-in-place home features, according to Home Advisors’ 2016 Aging in Place Report. Older Americans are “unwilling to prematurely surrender their homes and lives to old age just because they’ve reached retirement age,” the report notes.

The report highlights the need to reposition “aging in place” renovations to “thriving in place.” After all, many of the renovations for aging in place could be a selling point to younger age groups too, the report notes.

Sixty-one percent of home owners over the age of 55 surveyed say they plan to stay in their homes indefinitely. Yet, three-quarters of home owners have never completed any aging-related renovation, and 31 percent say they’ve never even considered one.

“There are several economic reasons for home owners to start on ‘thriving in place’ projects sooner rather than later,” says Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor’s chief economist. “If home owners start early, they can spend sufficient time researching and planning to avoid wasted time and suboptimal solutions. And, home owners can protect, and possibly even raise resale value of the home by making the home more appealing to buyers in all age groups with modifications that have a broad appeal.”

For example, a kitchen remodel may include base drawers instead of lower cabinets, and a bathroom may include bench seating inside the shower too. More “thriving in place” features may include wider doorways, open floor plans, zero-step entrances, remote-controlled window coverings, and motion sensor lights.

“Aging in place isn’t about special add-on features that will only help you once you’ve fallen and incurred a disability,” says Rodney Harrell, director of Livable Communities at AARP’s Public Policy Institute. “It’s about making functional home improvements that make spaces more useful and more usable for anyone, anytime.”

The report highlights the growing need to have “thriving in place” discussions. The population of Americans age 50 and older is expected to rise by another 10 million by 2020, according to AARP. By 2060, the number of Americans age 85 and older is expected to more than triple. It’s the fastest-growing aging group nationwide.

“‘Aging in place’ is a misnomer,” according to the report. “Whether we’re 25, 45, 65, or 85, our homes aren’t for aging. They’re for thriving. From pancake breakfasts with our kids and Sunday brunches with our friends to holidays with family, movie nights with our spouses and curling up with a good book, our homes are where we do the things we love to do, with the people we love to do them with,” according to the report. “Looking at aging in place through a new lens acknowledges how we live – not just how long we live – will usher in a new generation of home-improvement projects that benefit the young, the young at heart, and everyone in between.”

Source: “Aging in Place Report 2016,” Home Advisor (2016)