Sponsor spotlight: More older Americans desire to ‘age in place’


Older Americans largely prefer to stay in their current homes as they age rather than downsize or relocate. And that is a major driver in the continued growth of “aging-in-place” remodeling. This technique involves making home modifications — big or small — to help homeowners live safely in their home for many years to come, especially as they experience changes in their health or mobility.

In fact, a recent survey of NAHB Remodelers found that among all of the various reasons their clients are requesting home remodeling projects, the desire to age in place is quickly becoming one of the most popular.

When asked about the frequency of customers calling to request aging-in-place home modifications, more than half (52 percent) of the remodelers said those calls occur “often” or “very often.” That portion has grown significantly in recent years — up from 32 percent in 2012.

While the “desire for better/newer amenities” and the “need to repair/replace old components” still lead the list of reasons to remodel, the increased intrigue for aging-in-place projects is notable, said NAHB economist Paul Emrath. However, “the uptick is not entirely surprising, given the ongoing growth in the nation’s older population,” he said.

According to the remodelers who were surveyed, some of the aging-in-place remodeling projects that have increased in popularity the most in recent years include:

  • Grab bars in showers and near toilets
  • Taller/elevated toilets
  • Curb-less entry showers
  • Widened hallways and doorways
  • Additional lighting to interior and exterior areas
Joseph Irons

Many of today’s most reputable remodelers, including Irons Brothers Construction, have gone the extra mile to refine their craft of aging-in-place building techniques by earning the NAHB Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) designation. In fact, Joseph Irons, General Manager of Irons Brothers Construction, not only is CAPS certified, but he also instructs other remodelers, builders, occupational therapists, and other health specialists in the NAHB’s CAPS courses to earn their certification. This training certifies that they are among the best in the industry at identifying opportunities, integrating the latest products and designs, to enhance the safety of your current home, and its long-term value as well.

To learn more about Irons Brothers Construction’s aging-in-place projects, visit their website gallery and see references to Certified Aging in Place at www.ironsbc.com/affiliations.

To learn more about CAPS, you can contact Irons Brothers Construction and also review the NAHB Certified Aging in Place information at www.nahb.org/caps.

Melissa Irons, Operations and Showroom Manager, Iron Brothers Construction, Inc.
Melissa Irons.

— By Melissa Irons, CGR CAPS CGP, Marketing & Operations Manager
Irons Brothers Construction, Inc.

12 Replies to “Sponsor spotlight: More older Americans desire to ‘age in place’”

  1. Three years ago the industry was buzzing with prospect of boomers downsizing, predicting a boon in family home inventory and condo sales. That hasn’t happened (they were wrong) mostly because the importance of house appreciation as a component in people’s retirement plan was underestimated. 65+ is the fastest new employment demographic. Boomers stayed in their homes because house appreciation is the only ROI that helps cover cost of living increases (ironically some of those increases are property tax). Even though Boomers haven’t downsized, aging in place wont be possible for most either. Real Estate in this area [especially] will be hit hardest. Cost of living will increase due to a dollar crisis, and home equity will not be the nest egg that retirees actually need. Property taxes, as a percent of housing appraisals, wont fund our public liabilities either. If you’re not running for the exit, at least have your hand on the door handle.


  2. Matt – Glad you are not my advisor of good sound financial advice being a retired Edmonds property owner / baby boomer. Show us the facts to back up your rhetoric and scare tactics. You should look at the property value history over the last 60 years in Edmonds. Some of us owned property in Edmonds when the Boeing turndown happened in the sixties. Been thru 3 real estate downturns and multiple stock market highs and lows. Bought my first lot for $6,000.00 to build a house on in 75. That house sold this year for almost $900,000. Glad it was updated by people like the irons. Seniors have much wisdom and knowledge and don’t need to have a handle on the door knob.


    1. The interest rates were too low for too long for the crash in 2008. This is the lowest too low and longest too long in history. The federal reserve never had a balance sheet in the good ‘ol days you’re talking about, but now there are trillions of dollars in mortgages still owned by the fed. So the Plunge Protection Team is going to do what exactly? – use the fed to buy even more mortgages, lower interest rates even further, maybe negative? You’re invoking history, but there aren’t any folksy parallels that can be made as we’re in uncharted waters.

      People will walk away from their mortgage when negative equity hits. That will effect anyone who is relying on home equity to retire. An unrepresented amount of people are trying to retire at this time as well. After housing is wiped out, no one will be able to afford the interest rates to get back in the game. You’re confusing what were periods of over-investment and natural business cycle with the current market, which is a multifaceted bubble entirely created by the Federal Reserve. The 2008 recession hasn’t been dealt with yet.

      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/WALCL <- about 1/3 of all mortgages are serviced by the federal reserve. When you were active in real estate, no mortgages were serviced by the federal reserve.


  3. Housing should first and foremost be looked at as what it is, a place to live. Depending on the equity in a house as your only source of retirement security would not be smart financial planning in any business cycle. A home paid for at retirement could certainly be one leg of a retirement plan but shouldn’t be the only leg. I suspect the main reason people want to age in place is just the comfort factor of the familiar and proximity to amenities and old friends and neighbors. The desire to stay in place could be a contributing factor to taking better care of oneself and a positive attitude in general. There will always be bubbles and bursts in all types of markets. Right now we are experiencing one in the stock market. Housing will similarly bust again at some point. The only sane approach in any of this is to buy quality and hold on. Sell when everyone else is buying and buy when everyone else is selling. True in real estate as well as stocks and bonds.


  4. Agreed. Housing really is just a place to live, in the same way car is way to get around. Both are liabilities that require maintenance to prevent depreciation. From a supply and demand perspective, there are more bedrooms per capita in King County than ever, a surplus in housing. Ironically the best investment tranche in 2018 wasnt houses or stock market – classic cars were one if the best investment categories! Cars as an investment? All the fundamental investment norms are broken.


  5. Just reading, Federal Reserve lost $66b on it’s balance sheet this quarter, the only losses coming immediately after the Fed attempted to actually sell off some mortgages or let them mature in place. For 10 years TARP/QE was sold as a revenue-generating enterprise for taxpayers. This means that mortgages are only viable so long as the Fed isn’t selling them… but they have to sell so they can buy again should the market crash.


  6. My theory is that housing simply wont recover, mostly because people wont be able to afford the interest rates the next time around. A dollar crisis will eventually inflate people’s mortgage debt away (and the national debt away for that matter which is by design), but not until after wealth-effect of real estate is completely lost. The realty/banking industry has been moving towards multi-generational mortgages, where you and your kids would buy a 50 year mortgage together on a few points interest, but that’s likely not going to happen. More likely, there might be a return to 50% down and 30% interest. Banks will only be able to offer high-interest-short-term loans in order to make a profit because of base currency devaluation. Right now banks are being paid to not make loans, and they get interested on excess reserves since 2008, which is like paying an oil company not to produce oil or paying farmers to not grow crops. That policy cannot be maintained, and banks will be forced to be banks again.

    Trillions in Excess Reserves (this is how interest rates came down again):

    The FRED graph I shown earlier is better demonstrated with Base Currency added to the trend. The only liability the Fed ever had was the Federal Reserve Notes in our pockets.

    I know this is a bit much for MEN, and for an article on retiring in place. However, I don’t think there is a proper place or appreciation for comments about how broken the system is.


  7. “More likely, there might be a return to 50% down and 30% interest.” Please tell us when that situation existed.


    1. Ron, you’re not asking rhetorically. During the Great Depression, the total mortgage to value ratio was as high as 50% on an 8-10 year mortgage, or if the value ratio wasnt as good or the terms shorter the interest rates were as high as 30%. Banks didnt see homes as good collateral when 40% of mortgages turned over. There’s also a good bit about subprime tractor loans, which had the same effect.

      Even Volcker fixed funds rates that pushed 30 year mortgages to about 19% in our lifetime. If theres a currency crisiss, even if moderate, loan terms will get even more short and tight than during the Depression. In the late 70’s Volker sensed too much liquidity, he jumped the funds rate by 18%. In 2008, Bernanke actually lowered rates then created a policy called Interest On Excess Reserves which is a bit like having a finger in a dike filled with money on the other side. They’d need extreme interest rates to pull that money out of main street to prevent inflation. Wells Fargo could very well be nationalized, appropriated, to prevent them from actually banking.


      1. I believe that you’re being somewhat of an alarmist by going back to the “dark years”. During the past 54 years we’ve had 6 homes built for us and we’ve purchased 2 new ones. We’ve never needed anywhere near a 50% downpayment; we did suffer an 18% interest rate for a short period of time on our construction loan on the home we had built in Woodway in 1991.

        Undoubtedly there are cycles – what goes up eventually comes down, but often the up portion of the cycle is greater than the down portion.


        1. This isn’t a cycle. Look at the graphs. FDIC never was used before (TARP was technically FDIC). The system literally fell into the doomsday safety net, and the net is still full of troubled assets. Every past chair still alive is saying that the Fed doesnt have the tools needed to right the ship this time. Foreign holdings of our debt is plummeting, and we will lose our credit rating, which leave no way to fix the debts other than inflation and a significant standard of living reduction. #Austerity


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *