According to a new survey, bathroom upgrades are among the most popular renovations made by elderly people attempting to “age in place” in their homes. (Katherine Frey/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Tim Savoy, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Dupont/Logan Circle, writes an occasional column about the Washington-area housing market.

We are getting older. Without a doubt, the population of Americans 65 and older will continue to rise.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Americans in that group will rise from 35 million people in 2000 to more than 73 million in 2030. Does this population need to consider a type of home specifically targeted to them?

Aging in place, the trend of adapting your home as you age, is a rapidly growing business for contractors. Much of the discussion regarding home renovation is often focused on resale potential or current tastes; that is, the discussion is often times dominated by what is hottest in home repair and maintenance. The topic of aging in place is essential for one of the largest demographics of the United States. For many, growing older in their current home is the most desirable option.

HomeAdvisor recently released its “Aging in Place Survey Report” which lists the most common home repairs contractors are seeing with this population.

The top five projects in the survey were related to safety and functionality. Seventy-six percent of aging-in-place projects included adding grab bars somewhere in the home. Often times, this is in a location such as a bathroom or bedroom to assist in stabilization or standing up.

Moreover, 64 percent of completed aging-in-place projects involved adding a ramp to the home’s entrance; 44 percent involved widening doorways; 35 percent involved adding a bathroom on the home’s first floor; and 30 percent involved adding lever handles on doors. Each of these repairs or renovations stresses the importance of functionality on a population that may have a more difficulty with mobility.

Home automation has become increasingly popular to an aging population. Many of the features include all-in-one remote controls and smart phone apps that control temperature, light and other elements of the home.

The survey shows that most of the people making the renovations are doing so early in the aging process. Fifty-six percent of those who hired a home professional for aging-specific projects were under the age of 65.

As the population of elderly people increases so will the focus on aging-in-place renovations. The most popular accommodations being made, while minor in many cases, can make any home more comfortable no matter how old the owner may be.

Catch up on Tim’s previous columns:


Tim Savoy can be reached at Timothy.Savoy@cbmove.com or on twitter @SavoyRealEstate.