As we’ve reported here frequently, there’s currently a big boom underway in home remodeling. It’s as if there’s a surge of pent-up demand that built-up during the worst years of the recession, thankfully now behind us.
But a study recently released by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has revealed an interesting twist to the home remodeling boom: Baby boomers are big drivers of the current boom. More and more, people aged 55 and older are having remodeling work done to their homes.
Aging In Place
What’s driving the demand for home remodeling projects among older Americans? It’s partly the result of the surging popularity of the concept known as “aging-in-place.”
Aging-in-place simply means that many homeowners are choosing to remain in their own home throughout their golden years – or as deep into that time of life as possible. They don’t want to be uprooted and moved into some sort of assisted living facility.
Making Homes More Senior-Friendly
According to a report by the American Association of Retired Persons, a survey of people age 50+ showed that 84% wish to continue living in their present home for as long as possible.
But the study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies reveals that nearly half of homeowners over the age of 65 are living in housing that does not meet their needs. That’s because many in that age group are in need of special features to help with the mobility issues that face many seniors.
In past years, in fact, people in the 35 to 55 age group initiated the majority of home renovation projects. But just recently – and for the first time – this age group was eclipsed by the 55+ group. In 2013, that group became the group spending more on home remodeling projects than any other age group.
It’s a trend that’s expected to continue.
It’s Not All About Making Homes Senior-Friendly
The traditional drivers of home remodeling projects are still big players, even among the remodeling projects initiated by seniors. The majority of home remodeling projects undertaken by people in this age group are still focused upon traditional benefits such as:
- Increasing a home’s value
- Upgrading components in a home
- Increasing the energy-efficiency of a home
- Updating the home’s style
But along with those traditional home remodeling benefits, many remodeling projects are also now incorporating features to make a home more senior-friendly, projects such as:
- Widening hallways and doorways
- Creating no-step entryways
- Relocating master bedrooms and baths to the first floor
- Installing raised toilets
- Remodeling a bathroom and/or kitchen to be wheelchair-accessible
A Sensible Trend…
The aging-in-place movement surely makes lots of sense. It’s likely that anyone closing in on their golden years would agree that losing the independence of remaining in their own home ranks among their greater fears.
So it’s certainly logical to approach a home remodeling projects with an eye toward the future. Because for most people, anything that can be done to help them remain in their homes as they age is well worth doing.