Aging in Place: The Next Renovation Trend

What’s the next big trend in home renovation? As baby boomers age, it’s still all about them. So the next big trend is their next big concern. These days, many older boomers are trying to avoid leaving their homes for retirement residences and nursing homes, so they’re aging in place – renovating their homes to improve accessibility and comfort.

Value-added? According to a recent article in the Financial Post, many older adults are making accessible renovations to their homes; it’s a trend that’s likely to mushroom as the population ages. And while many are concerned about ease of living, and not about making a return on their investments, some accessible renovations are already paying back.

Ted Rechtshaffen, chief executive of TriDelta Financial, told the Post that seniors considering a renovation need to think about how many years they will realistically be able to stay before finally having to move for health reasons. So wouldn’t a retirement residence, single-floor home, or condo may make more sense?

Emotional attachment: Possibly. But many seniors are resisting even those options and remain attached to the family home. Many would prefer putting money into it, rather than having to move. Says Rechtshaffen: “The emotional side is tough.”

So is the financial side: Some seniors are concerned about the high monthly costs of retirement or condo living, although condo fees cover maintenance, and most retirement residences cover almost all living expenses under their monthly fees.

Incentives: As incentives to staying home, Ontario and British Columbia offer tax credits ($1,500 and $1,000, respectively) to seniors/family members who renovate to improve accessibility, reduce the potential of risk, and improve their ability to move around the home.

Of the $63.4 billion renovation market in Canada in 2013, individuals over 65 accounted for $8 billion, according to an Altus Group study. As boomers try to age in place, seniors’ share of the market can only grow.