Aging-in-Place for Boomers

Dated: March 20 2019

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Baby Boomers in the U.S. and Canada may be bucking the conventional wisdom that they’ll sell the family home and downsize.

Last year’s Royal LePage Boomer Trends Survey, for instance, shows that while 17 percent of Canadian Baby Boomers plan to buy a new home in the next five years, 59 percent plan to renovate their current home.

And Houzz found that U.S. Baby Boomers – those over the age of 55 – are embracing the idea of making home upgrades that allow for aging in place. The costs associated with the upgrades allows for aging boomers to put off moving or transitioning into alternative housing, which is a significant costs savings to families.

For instance, 37 percent are addressing such aging needs during kitchen renovations and 56 percent are doing so when renovating their master bathrooms. These changes to the most livable areas of the home can also be the most dangerous to individuals who may have health related issues. It is important to make the changes while homeowners can afford to instead of putting it off.

But Baby Boomers aren’t alone in looking ahead and making changes to accommodate aging. Twenty-one percent of younger homeowners – those age 25 to 54 – also are addressing age-related kitchen upgrades to accommodate current of future needs of aging members of the house. 

Baby Boomers are opening kitchens to another room (58 percent) and increasing the kitchen’s size (37 percent). By opening kitchens to other rooms, it allows access for walkers and wheelchairs that may be needed in the future.

For 35 percent of those making aging-in-place bathroom upgrades, the changes are motivated by current needs. Another 21 percent are renovating to accommodate future needs. 

Some of the projects include modifying the layout (47 percent) and incorporating accessibility features like low-curb shower entries (40 percent) and curbless shore entries  (28 percent). Bench seats, grab bars, walk-in tubs, and nonslip bathtub floors are some of the other additions. These minor modifications can significantly increase the quality of life for boomers.

In addition to the aging-related changes that people are making, the Houzz research also outlines popular design trends. Those include a contemporary style, a gray color palette, and an array of luxury features – rainfall shower heads, mood lighting, and heated toilet seats. For more, see:  http://bit.ly/2T6tzDu and http://bit.ly/2T18Hh8.

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Valerie Martinez-Friedberg

I have worked for many years in education and the industrial real estate industry. Previously, I taught middle school and high school in New York and California. My background in history and teaching,....

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