A survey recently released by the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business polled 1,000 people ages 50 to 80 years old. Only about 1 in 5 respondents to the survey had any plan to remodel their homes or incorporate technology to help them as they age, and yet, the vast majority (96 percent) of respondents said they want to remain independent while they grow older, and 91 percent said they wanted to stay in their own home, commonly referred to as ‘aging-in-place.’
Bruce Graf, a nationwide renovation consultant with over 32 years of experience and a Baby Boomer himself, scoffs at these survey results.
“It’s funny, people will spend $50,000 for a car. This is something with a relatively short life and depreciates the very second it’s driven off the car lot,” Graf said. “However, they think twice about spending that amount on their home, a place they could spend the next 30 years in easily, and it appreciates greatly.”
Graf, who is known for his CAPS certification (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist), said his first wave of Baby Boomers wanted curbless showers. “It is a subtle and simple change can be done to keep you safe in your own shower,” he said. “We mount the shower controls on one wall, but the actual head is on the opposite wall. We do this often, so you can turn on the water and allow it time to heat up before stepping under it.”
Baby Boomers, some of whom are now in a caregiver role, are now asking for raised cabinets in the kitchen. This feature equips the home to be wheelchair-compatible, as well as easier to reach for those with limited mobility.
Graf is an advocate for better lighting design, with the belief that greater visibility in your home helps reduce the risk of slips and falls.
“I’m seeing an increase in requests for lighting controls such as smart switches, dimmers, and motion sensors,” Graf said. He sees a steady stream of demand right now for creating tech-friendly work spaces since many Baby Boomers are electing to work from home as they transition to contract employment or start their own businesses.
Of course, if investing $50K in your home to better age in place sounds ridiculous, perhaps you’d rather have an in-home robot caregiver? Or you could see what you can do to your home to make aging-in-place a breeze by listening to Bruce Graf on June 2 at the Park Cities/North Dallas MetroTex Association of Realtors meeting.