According to a report issued this month by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, fewer than 4% of existing U.S. homes have features that allow for easy wheelchair access, including entryways without stairs, wide hallways and doors, and a first-floor bathroom. At the same time, one in three U.S. households is projected to be led by someone 65 or older by 2035 – and about 17 million households will include someone with a physical disability.
At the same time, according to a 2014 AARP survey, 87% of seniors want to stay in their homes as long as possible, and almost three million households did renovations to ease elderly or disabled access in 2015, accounting for 4% of all home renovations, according to the Federal Housing Survey.
People in the industry said they expect those numbers to increase. More than 6,000 people have completed a three-day National Association of Home Builders course focused on aging in place, making it the organization's most popular offering, said Dan Bawden, CEO of Houston-based Legal Eagle Contractors, who started the program in 2001.