Bathroom work proves popular in "aging in place" remodels
Improvements to make the bathroom easier to use were the most commonly completed jobs among remodelers who have recently done "aging in place" work, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders.
In the organization's Remodeling Market Index survey for the fourth quarter of 2018, the three most popular renovations all took place in the bathroom. Of the 269 professionals questioned for the poll, 89 percent said they commonly installed grab bars in residences in their work over the past 12 months. Eighty-five percent said they frequently installed higher toilets, while 82 percent put in curbless showers.
Aging in place renovations are designed to address mobility issues and other challenges associated with getting older. The improvements help residents to stay in their home instead of moving to a more accessible residence.
Other renovations were significantly less common. Fifty-nine percent of remodelers said they have often widened doorways, while 53 percent said they have improved lighting and 49 percent had installed ramps or lowered thresholds. The least common renovations included lowering kitchen cabinets (7 percent) and lowering countertops (8 percent).
Modifications for aging in place have become more popular in the past decade. Seventy percent of survey respondents in the fourth quarter of 2008 said their company was involved in aging in place work, while the share at the end of 2004 stood at 61 percent.
Not surprisingly, older homeowners were more likely to request aging in place renovations. Seventy-eight percent said they have done this type of work for homeowners who were 65 or older, while 73 percent had done so for residents between the ages of 55 and 64. Just 3 percent said homeowners under the age of 35 had requested aging in place improvements, while 10 percent said they had done the work for customers between the ages of ages 35 to 44.
Eighty-six percent of respondents said their customers were requesting aging in place work in order to plan for their future needs. Fifty-one percent said they worked with customers who needed to accommodate age-related disabilities, while 27 percent said customers needed renovations to address disabilities unrelated to age. Forty-three percent said customers requested aging in place improvements to assist older parents in the home.
Remodelers typically said homeowners were already familiar with the aging in place concept. Seventy-two percent said some consumers knew about this concept, while 18 percent said most knew about it.
Sixty percent said the majority of their aging in place work was suggested by the client. Forty percent said it was primarily suggested by the contractor.
Fifty-eight percent said there has been some increase in aging in place projects in the past five years, while 17 percent said there has been a significant increase. One in four said there had not been any increase in this type of work.