New York City is urging homeowners and landlords to add some aging-in-place features to their residences, with expectations the population of Americans over 65 living in the city will grow by more than 35% by 2030. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of Americans over 65 years old fall each year and 20% of those falls cause serious injury.
To help prevent these falls and keep residents in their homes longer, there are a few simple renovations to consider for aging Americans. It's extremely important to consider the needs, such as placing importance on a place for a stool in the kitchen over cabinets so older owners have somewhere to sit while they're cooking. High contrast features like white cabinets and black countertops also make it easier for ailing eyes to see.
Building industry professionals are taking note. Since the National Association of Home Builders started to offer a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist program in 2002, nearly 7,000 contractors, architects, interior designers and occupational therapists have become credentialed by attending a one-day class, according to Elizabeth Thompson, a spokeswoman for the association.
Erik Listou, a founder of the Living in Place Institute, a professional training firm, said about 200 people have taken its Certified Living in Place Professional class, which started about a year ago. The firm offers the two-day program nationwide.