The three-day training program equips graduates with the technical, customer service and marketing skills required to effectively service the burgeoning market for aging-in-place home modifications.
Demographic trends indicate that home owners who plan to stay in their homes as they get older instead of making other housing accommodations are one of the fastest growing segments of the residential remodeling market. Many of these households can be expected to call on remodelers to adapt their homes to their changing needs and lifestyles in order to maintain their independence.
What is "aging-in-place"? In plain English, aging-in-place means living in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level. It means the pleasure of remaining in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years, and the ability to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a home for a lifetime.
Projects for the aging-in-place remodeling segment range from installation of bath and shower grab bars and adjustment of countertop heights to the creation of multi-functional first-floor master suites and the installation of private elevators. CAPS training participants learn the mechanics and nuances of effective assessment of clients’ needs and integrating myriad considerations into unified, aesthetically pleasing, functional solutions.
Why was CAPS developed?
The AARP’s landmark study “Fixing to Stay” was a wake-up call to the residential remodeling industry. The results of the study sent two messages loud and clear:
Americans prefer to remain in their homes as they mature, rather than seek assisted living and other arrangements
Older consumers want a reliable means of identifying the professionals they can trust to remodel their homes
Millions of the Baby Boom generation will turn 55 years old this year and millions more will cross this significant threshold in the next 15 years. About 80% of all Americans 55 years or older currently own their own homes, making it the highest rate of homeownership of any age group in the country. Members of this population group also tend to be healthier and wealthier than previous generations of similar age, and expect their homes to reflect their active, independent, and upscale lifestyles.
"Remodelers can't afford to ignore the aging-in-place market," said Dan Bawden, CGR, GMB, CAPS, a remodeling contractor from Houston, who heads the task force charged with developing the program.
"Learning to work with home owners in this age group will improve remodelers' customer service delivery across the board and will give NAHB members a competitive advantage in reaching this currently under-served market. CAPS is a win-win situation: consumers will finally have an answer to the burning question ‘Where can find a skilled contractor I can trust?’ This certification will connect homeowners of all ages with contractors trained to do the kinds of home modifications they want and need as they grow older in their homes. As for the contractors, they are discovering a whole new segment of customers to serve as our populations grows older."
"There's been a growing demand for remodeling as a means to enhance Americans' independence as they choose to remain in their homes into their retirement years," explained Leon Harper, who represented AARP on the task force. "While there's a growing need, there's also been a growing fear, as a result of the unfortunate work of a few unscrupulous contractors. This program represents a welcome opportunity for us to help our members identify the good guys, the professionals they can hire with confidence."
Homes for Life - CAPS Design Award
In 2007, NAHB Remodelers launched an awards program for CAPS designees to recognize outstanding aging-in-place remodeling projects. This award was expanded to include two award categories, one for a Single Space project (e.g. kitchen, sunroom, bathroom, etc.) or Major Space (e.g. whole house or multi-room) remodel.
The 2012 Homes for Life award is sponsored by Whirlpool.