CAPS — Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
Houses for living, Homes for life
Who can you rely on to modify your home?
A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) has been trained in:
- The unique needs of the older adult population
- Aging-in-place home modifications
- Common remodeling projects
- Solutions to common barriers
The Remodelers Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in collaboration with the NAHB Research Center, NAHB 50+ Housing Council and the AARP developed this program to address the growing number of consumers that will soon require these modifications. While most CAPS professionals are Remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants.
The CAPS designation is a reliable way to identify professionals to modify your home.
CAPS professionals have the answers to your questions. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically enriching, barrier-free living environments. The CAPS program goes beyond design to address the codes and standards, common remodeling expenditures and projects, product ideas and resources needed to provide comprehensive and practical aging-in-place solutions. CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a code of ethics and are required to maintain their designation by attending continuing education programs and participating in community service.
Before you modify your home.
Keep in mind that when you hire a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, you are buying a service rather than a product. Each CAPS professional draws from a different knowledge base and will approach your project in a different way. No matter where you start in the process, you will eventually need to hire a professional remodeler to actually make the modifications to your home.
How long do you plan to live in your current home?
If you are like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. According to the AARP, older homeowners overwhelmingly prefer to "age in place," which means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.
How should you modify your home to make it more comfortable?
When considering modifying your home, ask yourself:
To "age in place" you will probably need to modify your house as you mature to increase access and maneuverability. These modifications range from the installation of bath and shower grab bars and adjustment of countertop heights to the creation of multifunctional, first-floor master suites and the installation of private elevators.
- Do I want to add a bathroom and a bedroom on the main level?
- How can I make my kitchen more functional?
- Am I worried about preventing falls?
- Will other members of my family benefit from modifications?
- Will remodeling increase the energy efficiency of my home?
- How much money can I budget for this project?
- Will I need to get a home equity loan?
- Where do I find a professional I can consult with about my needs?
Here's a checklist to help you choose a professional to help you modify your home:
- Look for professional designations such as CAPS, Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) or Graduate Master Builder (GMB).
- Contact trade associations such as your area's local American Society of Interior Designers (www.asidcolorado.org), Home Builders Association, or Remodelers Council.
- Verify the Remodeler has the appropriate license(s) in your state.
- Ask your professional Remodeler for a written estimate of the work to be done based on a set of plans and specifications. Be prepared to pay for this package.
- Figure out how much money you have to spend on the home modification — and remember, a lowest professional bid price does not ensure a successful project.
- Check with your local or state office of consumer protection and the local Better Business Bureau.
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