What should I consider when hiring someone to make my home more accessible?

While there are many simple modifications that you can do yourself, when it comes to bathrooms, kitchens, bigger projects, or safety issues, it is usually better to hire a professional who is experienced in aging in place, universal design, or both. The building industry, which includes architects, builders, interior designers, and other building specialists, and the remodeling industry both offer aging in place certification. Though, as I write this, certification is relatively new and thus certified aging in place specialists (CAPS) are rare.

Thankfully certification is becoming more and more of an industry standard all the time. The cost of retrofitting a bathroom or kitchen to make it more accessible can easily exceed $25,000, a figure that is much higher than building for the future right from the start. If you are considering building or adding on to a home, talk with your builder or architect about using universal design principals. It may cost a little more up front, but it will be less expensive to build it with the future in mind than to have to retrofit or remodel later. And homes built with universal design elements often maintain a higher resale value over the life of the home.

Whether you choose to retrofit an existing space, remodel your current home, or build for the future, before hiring a professional, be sure to ask about CAPS certification or about their specific knowledge and experience with aging in place or universal design principles. If they look at you like you are speaking a foreign language or try to excuse those terms as being unnecessary, keep looking. If they say they have experience, check out their references. Be sure to interview previous clients who have had accessibility modifications completed. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of time and money to make your home more accessible and find out afterward that it is not much better than it was before. Believe me, this has happened.
Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

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Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

Written by the best-selling author of Multiple Sclerosis: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier and Parkinson's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier, Home Accessibility: 300 Tips for Making Life...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.