Certified Aging in Place Specialist
A CAPS-certified specialist is a professional who has completed professional training in aging in place. The training and certification is offered through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in conjunction with Home Innovation Research Labs, the NAHB 50+ Housing Council, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The specialist could be a remodeler, general contractor, architect, designer, or health care worker, such as an occupational therapist. CAPS certification ensures that the professional understands the needs of the older adult population who wish to remain safely in their homes and is able to remodel their homes to suit their changing needs. A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist will know common home modifications for aging in place and will be familiar with common remodeling projects. In addition, a CAPS professional has a knowledge base to help with unique situations.
What is aging in place?
Aging in place is a term used to refer to seniors who wish to remain in their homes, independent and in familiar surroundings, throughout the aging process. As people get older, their needs can change, in terms of fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills. In addition, a person could be at increased risk of falling. Aging in place allows a senior to remain in his or her home, but the home might need adjustments to allow aging in place to happen safely.
Some people who are aging in place might need few adjustments to their living space, if any. Others might have changing health conditions that would require their homes to be made safer (reducing fall hazards, for example). They might need to have adjustments made if they have arthritis. Some common areas that need adjustment for allow aging in place are entrances (adding ramps and widening doorways), kitchens (to be more functional and safe), and bathrooms (for example, the addition of safety rails). Stairways might also need modifications.
Benefits of using a CAPS contractor
While most contractors could put a ramp on your front steps or add a safety rail in the bathroom, a CAPS contractor is trained and knowledgeable about best practices for making necessary changes so a home is suitable and safe for the residents to remain in as they age. A CAPS contractor would also know how to make any changes aesthetically pleasing. A CAPS-certified contractor would not only be responsive to clients’ requests but would also be able to make suggestions and help the homeowner look ahead to consider changing needs, so that any renovations could take aging in place into account and make the home safe and livable for years to come. CAPS contractors must attend continuing education programs.
To make necessary changes to a home for aging in place, the homeowner will need to consult with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. By hiring a contractor who is already CAPS-certified, a homeowner can be not only eliminate an extra step but can be assured that the person doing the renovations or remodeling fully understands the process and the homeowner’s needs. The homeowner will also be able to rest assured that the contractor fully understands what changes and modifications are necessary so the home remains barrier-free and livable for a self-sufficient, confident aging in place.