Millions of new jobs relating to the impending silver tsunami are opening up across the nation as professionals seek to take advantage of the emerging “gray-jobs marketplace,” writes the New York Times, and one growing sector is home remodeling for aging in place.
About 20% of Americans will be aged 65 or older by 2050, according to U.S. Census data, and already career opportunities are being created by this demographic shift.
Recent data point to home modifications with aging in place in mind is becoming more popular than expansions and other types of remodeling. The New York Times reports:
[T]he industry is likely to look different from just a few years ago. Rather than building an addition to a home or refinishing a basement, jobs are likely to involve remodeling to make homes easier for older adults to live in after retirement. “It’s a concept whose time has come,” says Esther Greenhouse, an independent consultant on elder- and disability-friendly design and policy based in Ithaca, N.Y.
According to the Remodeling Futures program, as of 2011, nearly half of all United States home improvement spending came from homeowners over 55 (10 years ago, they were responsible for less than a third of it).
Although most owners 55 and older have a bedroom on the first floor to avoid stairs, only a third have wheelchair-accessible kitchens, and fewer than one in six have raised toilets, lever door handles rather than knobs, or wider doorways and hallways for easier navigation, according to the Harvard report.
To prepare for this job, Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist courses from the National Association of Home Builders teach design and building techniques for making a home accessible to all ages. The program consists of three individual classes that cover such things as design basics, building standards, how to do a home assessment and the best methods to market services. Total fees for the combined courses are typically under $1,000.
Other “budding fields” stemming from the aging population include downsizing experts and move managers, patient advocates, fitness trainers who specialize in working with older adults.
Written by Alyssa Gerace