Senior care


What is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)?

A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) is someone who understands the aging-in-place home remodeling market and the technology, tools and resources that are available for seniors to age in place. Individuals with the CAPS designation are trained in the needs of the aging population, common remodeling projects and expenditures, codes and standards, product ideas and resources. During their three-day training period, CAPS students learn techniques and strategies for establishing a sustainable, competitive remodeling business with the senior market in mind. Among other things, their training consists of case studies and interactive exercises.


CAPS professionals are trained by the National Association of Home Builders. While many people who undergo the training for the CAPS designation are members of the building profession, other interested professionals, such as occupational therapists and other health care professionals, may also seek and obtain certification. Other types of professional who may be encouraged to seek CAPS certification are those individuals who are involved in planning and land use, in particular at the state level. Here, the skills and knowledge of a CAPS professional can really make a meaningful difference at the macroscopic level where they can influence changes that can remove the three major barriers to aging in place at the community level.

Why Choose a CAPS?

There are many good reasons why older adults prefer to remain in their own homes and communities. Proximity to family and friends, the comfort of familiar surroundings, privacy -- all of these are important. A widowed senior may feel closer to his lost loved one by staying in the house they shared for several decades. While places like residential care homes and sheltered independent living communities are essential facilities to have available, an elder senior may become isolated if separated from neighbors, friends and other social amenities. The upheaval of learning new routines and finding new hairdressers, grocery stores, local shops, restaurants, etc., is daunting enough for most of us. To a slightly confused older individual, perhaps with a diminishing memory, this can be an absolute nightmare. Transferring medical care is not only distressing, it can be positively risky if the transfer of medical records does not proceed smoothly. Having to attend a different medical center, with the difficulties of having to get to know new health care professionals, can be a barrier to seeking help when it is really needed.

A CAPS professional can help you make your home "aging-ready." Working with a certified aging in place specialist gives you the assurance that you are dealing with someone who has had training in crafting solutions that meet the independent housing needs of older adults. CAPS professionals utilize universal design principles to create a safer, more comfortable and more independent life in their own home, both now and in the future.

What Types of Home Alterations Can Help with Aging in Place?

Minimizing the risk of falls, making the home safe for someone with increasingly impaired vision and ease of basic maintenance are some of the main considerations when planning aging-in-place home alterations.

Home remodeling for aging in place can range from simple changes, like installing grab bars for tubs and toilets in bathrooms, placing sturdy handrails on both sides of stairways, replacing door knobs with lever door handles and applying nonslip tape on outdoor and indoor steps that are not carpeted, are quick and inexpensive to implement. Other simple changes include placing microwave ovens and other small appliances on counter tops, fastening down rugs or runners and replacing standard light switches with toggle or rocker-type switches.

More extensive modifications are things like increasing the width of hallways and doorways where necessary (and possible), installing additional and/or better lighting, putting a more accessible vanity in the bathroom, replacing the dishwasher with one that is elevated or has drawers, and replacing cook tops with induction cook tops to reduce the chances of burns.

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