In: Construction in Avon, Ohio

Why a qualified builder/remodeler makes the difference

When AARP recently surveyed people age 65 and older, 90 percent of them said they would prefer to live in their own home and community, regardless of their age—and that means to live safely, independently and comfortably. So if you or your parents are purchasing, renovating or building a home to accommodate the needs of the older person, it makes sense to consult with a builder or remodeler who is a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS).

To help ensure the best results for your aging in place project, engage a CAPS designated remodeler or builder to undertake the job with assurance.

Launched in 2002 by AARP and National Association of Home Builders, the CAPS designation is given after the professional has completed an intensive three-day training session. The designation enables contractors, custom builders, designers, health care professionals, architects, inspectors, lenders, social workers, and other professionals who complete the program to assess both the needs of individuals to function well within their homes and the ability of their homes to provide for their safety, comfort and accessibility in both the short and long terms.

Here are some benefits of engaging a CAPS specialist in Bay Village or other communities when purchasing or remodeling a property for you to age in place or to reside with parents in the same home.

First, it’s critical to understand the concepts of aging in place and universal design. This means that a home must be built to ensure that every aspect of life is considered. Inaccuracies can lead to injuries, illness and avoidable fatalities.

The term “universal design” is a concept for designing, remodeling or building a residence so it’s more comfortable, convenient and safer for all generations to use, particularly the elderly. Universal design in recent years has been incorporated in public places or residences more frequently; take for example handrails or accessibility ramps.

Close communication with the contractor helps assure a good outcome on your aging in place project.

Converting a residence, particularly an older one that wasn’t initially designed in this manner, might seem daunting—after all tearing down walls and living while renovations are in progress may have drawbacks to your quality of life.

That’s why a builder or remodeler who has earned the CAPS designation has adopted the approach to anticipate the needs of the home’s occupants, accommodating declining health and moderating possible hazards.

Improvements don’t necessarily need to be expensive or labor intensive, although it is wise to plan for potential needs. That’s what a CAPS remodeler or builder can discuss with you. Here are seven universal design features to think about in the initial stages.

Non-slip bathroom flooring

More than one-third of all injuries to older adults occur in the bathroom and by installing non-slip flooring; these hazards can be minimized or eliminated.

The flooring also must be easy to clean in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment.

Slip-resistant surfaces for showers and tubs

Showers and tubs also present hazards for older residents. Non-slip bathmats or rubberized appliques are affordable solutions in the short term. Non-slip sprays are another solution.

Shower and tub design

For those who want to age in place, the shower and bath must be accessible. To avoid a step-up shower that poses mobility issues and denies wheelchair access, a low-rise shower or, better, a no-step entry is ideal.  This may require significant time, effort and expense for installation.

Wider doorways

Plan to widen doorways and replacing existing doors with wider ones. Many doorways in older homes don’t meet the 32 to 36 inches in width a wheelchair needs to pass through easily. Materials for this improvement are affordable and labor is reasonable in most cases.

Door handles with levers

Older doorknobs require twisting to open, and as people age, their grip strength may lessen significantly. Doorknobs with a lever handle are an affordable solution and come in many styles and finishes.

A step-free entrance

Steps to enter a residence offer several challenges. Having at least one step-free entrance can significantly add to quality of life and may be a necessity. Depending on the materials and style, it can be one of the more expensive remodelings, running anywhere from about $1,000 to $4,000, according to HomeAdvisor, a website which tracks home repair prices nationwide.

Large signage

One aspect of aging in place is to have clear address signage outside the home so emergency personnel can respond to the correct location. Large numbers and mail box numbers visible in the dark may make a difference between life and death.

These are a few of the concerns a CAPS remodeler or builders will discuss with you about people of varying levels of ability and needs and why you should consider engaging a CAPS specialist in Bay Village and other communities. Sciarappa Construction is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, ready to determine and address your needs, evaluate the physical attributes of the home, consider some common treatments and solutions to alleviate mobility and sensory concerns within the home and develop individual design approaches for working effectively in a number of settings.

Sciarappa Construction’s professionals will help in your plans and build your project to your complete satisfaction. Contacting us at (440) 930-2882 or by email at info@sciarappaconstruction.com will get the project rolling. We’re located at 32961 Oak Pkwy., Avon Lake, OH 44012, and our general contracting crew has more than 40 years of combined experience in remodeling homes within the Avon, Avon Lake, Bay Village and Greater Cleveland, Ohio areas. We are a family-owned and operated full-service construction company.