AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has collaborated with builders to create the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program that trains remodelers in designing and modifying buildings for seniors.

Another term for aging in place design is Universal Design, meaning that design of the environment and products are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible. The principles of Universal Design contribute to the convenience and function of products by making them safer, easier to use and, in some cases, even more comfortable. Universal Design becomes a virtually invisible element of a home when done well.

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Grab bars, shower seat, hand shower, low threshold

However, you don’t have to wait until you are close to retirement; whenever a remodel project is looming on the horizon, you might do well to ask your CAPS trained contractor to suggest modifications that could be incorporated into the project. Your home will not look like a hospital; there are great products available in designer colors that complement any décor. A home designed with CAPS principles will only enhance it’s value, as it will be attractive to more potential buyers when the time comes to sell.

There are many reasons to include CAPS design options in a remodel now; many families are welcoming senior relatives into their homes. Sometimes an injury causes mobility problems; or you may just want to make your home more user-friendly to everyone who comes for a visit.

Some of the desirable accessibility changes include: wider door openings, walk in showers and adding grab bars in bathrooms.