More remodelers are completing aging-in-place home improvement projects, with 80% of remodeling firms reporting work in the category in Q4 2016, up from 68% in 2013, according to a recent National Association of Home Builders' survey.
Simple and less-expensive projects are gaining popularity, with added lighting or task lighting (12%), curb-less showers (9%), grab bars (7%), non-slip floors (7%) and widening doorways (5%) seeing the largest increases from 2013.
Of the 248 home-improvement professionals surveyed, 13% reported a “significant increase” in the number of requests for aging-in-place projects over the past five years. Another 64% reported seeing “some increase” in the number of requests.
Baby boomers are getting older, and many — but not all — are seeking upgrades to their homes that will allow them to live there longer. According to a recent survey by HomeAdvisor, six in 10 homeowners older than 55 said they planned to stay in their current residence for the near future. However, the majority said they have yet to do any renovations to address their future mobility changes.
Boomers are expected to account for 56% of all residential remodeling spending by 2025, up from 31% in 2005, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
That gives remodelers plenty of opportunity to address the growing need for aging-in-place renovations. Over the next 20 years, one-third of U.S. heads-of-household will be 65 or older, with the number of households age 80 and above projected to double from 7.8 million in 2015 to 16.2 million by 2035, according to the JCHS.
Age is just one factor driving the push toward universal design, a trend that prioritizes accessibility with features such as wider hallways, lower counters, low- or no-thresholds, side-open appliances and grab bars seamlessly integrated into the design of bathrooms.
Remodeling's 2017 Cost vs. Value Report noted that a universal design bathroom project, which included widening a doorway, adding grab bars, installing a zero-threshold shower with a fold-down seat, swapping in a taller toilet and putting in a sink with clear floor space, had a resale payback of 68 cents on the dollar.