Remodel for Life-Long Independence

~ By Tom Boone, Aging Well Housing Workgroup Chair ~

If you are considering remodeling your home, you are not alone. Home-improvement spending among homeowners age 55 and over, according to a report issued by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, is currently at record levels and is projected to increase by more than 10 percent at the same time the number of homeowners in this age group soars at twice the rate.

However, only about 1 in 10 older homeowners who remodeled in 2014 and 2015 did so to make their home easier for everyone to use regardless of age, size or ability, known as Universal design, Livable Design or Better Design. It emphasizes convenience, simplicity, flexibility and adaptability. And it goes beyond accessibility to include style at its very core.

As households age, the incident of disabilities increases dramatically. While less than a quarter of owners age 55-64 reported a household member with disabilities in 2015, that share jumps to nearly a third among owners age 65-74 and to more than half among those 75 and older.

By incorporating Universal Design into remodeling projects for two of the most important rooms in your home, your kitchen and bathroom, you will help ensure that you can live safely and independently even as your needs change.

Below are two resources to learn more about incorporating Universal Design into your remodeling project.
AARP HomeFit Guide: AARP.org/livable
Remodeling Today for a Better Tomorrow: Deign Ideas for the Kitchen and Bathroom http://www.thehartford.com/sites/thehartford/files/remodeling-guide.pdf

Aging Well in Jefferson County is a strategic planning project focused on developing and implementing strategies to create inclusive, livable communities through sustainable partnerships and integrated services. The Housing Workgroup is one of six Workgroups addressing all aspects of life for aging residents in Jefferson County. For more information, visit our website at www.Jeffco.us/Aging-Well.