The Brett Favre saga that dominated sports pages all summer has drummed up some interesting water cooler fodder. When is the right time to call it quits? Is there such a thing as sticking around too long? Did Brett make the right choice signing with the New York Jets, or would an assisted living facility have been a better fit for the aging QB? Interestingly, the legendary number 4 isn't the only one who doesn't like the idea of hanging up his cleats. Across the nation, an aging population is beginning to realize that retirement, and the retirement home, aren't all that far away. That realization has led to the rise of a home design and remodeling philosophy known as "Aging in Place." In short, it means adopting designs that allow you to stay in your home as long as possible as you grow older.
The Statistics Don't Lie
According to the AARP, over 80 million Americans will reach retirement age within the next 15 years, and over 80% of those retirees would like to stay in their present home as long as possible rather than moving into a retirement home. Unfortunately, just as the front office of the Green Bay Packers wasn't all that accommodating when the prospect of a Favre comeback became reality, most homes aren't built with the needs of aging seniors in mind, either. According to the U.S. Department on Aging, the majority of the aging population in the U.S. lives in a home that is 20 years old or older, homes that will most likely need some significant upgrades if those dreams of staying at home are going to be made possible.
Aging In Place Philosophies
That said, you're probably wondering whether your house is the equivalent of the New York Jetsa place that an aging, but still vibrant, individual can call home for as long as they pleaseor is it a little more Lambeau than you'd like to think? The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) suggests that homeowners examine the following areas to determine whether their home is aging in place friendly or not:
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Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS for Short)
At this point, you might feel a little like Favre when he showed up at the 2008 Packers training camp. You know you're ready to play as long as you possibly can, but it's not going to be as easy as you'd originally hoped. Accessibility, adaptability, and visit-ability aside, you're wondering what your home is going to need to keep you out of the home. You can certainly do your own research and design your Aging in Place upgrades on your own, or you might want to hire a pro that specializes in this sort of thing.
Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) are home improvement professionals that have completed a specialized training program administered by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). According the NAHB, CAPS contractors are trained in "the unique needs of the older adult population," "aging in place modifications," "common remodeling projects," and "solutions to common barriers" that the aging population commonly faces. In other words, they know building, and they know how to apply an Aging in Place philosophy to make your home work for you as you get older.
Whether you're a Favre fan or not, it's safe to say that we've all got a little bit of number 4 in us when it comes to making the most of what we've got, when we've got it. That goes for aging NFL quarterbacks and an aging U.S. population alike. If your playing days aren't over yet, Aging in Place design might be the home design and remodeling philosophy you've been searching for.