As aging baby boomers approach retirement, more and more of them are spending money to stay in their existing homes. Experts say this growing market can prove lucrative to contractors with the skills to help this demographic age in place, but many still aren’t ready to do so.
“The demand is there, the supply is not,” said Kermit Baker, JCHS Remodeling Studies program director.
Consider the following statistics:
--Today, more than 90% of older adults would prefer to age in place rather than move to senior housing. But a gap exists between their desire and the reality of the modifications their home may require, according to the National Aging in Place Council.
-- More than 70% of homeowners doing a remodeling project are planning for the future needs of themselves or their parents, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.
-- Approximately 10,000 people turn 65 everyday. That means 45% of all homeowners will be over 55 by the year 2020, says the NAPC.
--The number of U.S. residents 65 or older will grow from 35 million in 2000 to nearly 73 million in 2030 -- and the number of people 85 and older will increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
--Homeowners aged 55 and over are expected to increased their home improvement spending from $90 billion in 2013 to $107 billion by 2018, according to the report, Aging in Place: Implications for Remodeling from Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies. Of the 25 million households age 65 and over today, nearly 45% have some need for home accessibility features, the JCHS report says.
“It’s a huge market,” said Robert Criner, owner of Criner Remodeling, who’s also a Certified Aging in Places Specialist through NAHB. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers a similar Universal Design Certified Remodeler credential.
But a recent survey from HomeAdvisor of 250 professionals who specialize in remodeling, universal design and disability projects shows that more education is needed.
That is especially the case when it comes to helping aging customers tap available government resources to help pay for aging in place projects. While 74% of home professionals surveyed felt prepared to explain the benefits that may be available to help their customers pay for long-term services and support, only 17% were familiar with all of the Medicare/Medicaid benefits available for in-home services and care.
The findings also suggest that while a small number of homeowners are already planning ahead, the majority may benefit from informed home service professionals — professionals who can increase awareness and address the needs of a growing population wishing to age in place.
Here are some highlights from the survey:
--56% of the homeowners who hired a professional for an aging-related home improvement project were younger than 65 years old, while 10% were younger than 50 years old.
--73% of homeowners contacted a home service professional on their own. When a homeowner did not personally reach out to a professional, the homeowner’s daughter made the call 16% of the time.
--Home automation systems are increasing in popularity among those wishing to age in place. 49% of home technology installation customers installed home automation systems.
Here’s a look at what the survey identified as the most popular aging in place projects: