Questions? Call 1-888-256-2599 SHOP ONLINE

Easy-Care Home Improvements for Aging Baby Boomers

MILLS RIVER, NC - Independent and plentiful in numbers, Baby Boomers are a major part of America's housing outlook. With more than 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are either currently in retirement or planning for retirement --- and their living arrangements are a primary consideration.

According to a survey conducted by Demand Institute of more than 4,000 Baby Boomer households*, 63 percent of those surveyed do not plan to move, preferring instead to "age in place." Of those respondents, "low maintenance/upkeep" is rated as the third highest concern for Boomers staying in their current homes.

Changes with Big Impact

On the exterior of the house, switching to manmade products requiring little or no upkeep can be exceptionally beneficial for Baby Boomers. From the roof down to the porch, replacement products can be added to homes to make long-term living less stressful in an existing home.

Start with the roof. Synthetic slate and shake roofing tiles have the look of real slate or shake, but with none of the worries. Manufactured to provide years of beauty with no maintenance hassles, composite roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes are impact-, fire- high wind and insect-resistant. The polymer roofing materials come in dozens of colors and color blends to complement any home exterior and feature a lifetime limited warranty.

Aging homeowners ready to say farewell to the splitting, cupping and cracking problems of real slate or cedar are embracing synthetic roofing products. As a bonus, these roofs are so durable that many insurance companies offer discounts on homeowner insurance policies to people investing in synthetic roofing.
Another low-maintenance product with strong visual and easy-care appeal are steel and aluminum garage doors. Realistic-looking wood grain finishes can trick the eye into thinking a home has a real wood garage door

"We feature a powder coated wood grain finish on our Residential Aluminum 360 Series doors that is rust- and corrosion-free for long-term beauty and durability," says Jeffrey Nofziger, president of Haas Door. "Unless you're right up next to it, you can't tell this isn't a true wood door. We're using high-end commercial grade aluminum to create an energy-efficient garage door that requires almost no maintenance during its lifetime. Best of all, homeowners can select from one of 14 different wood grains to truly complement their home."

Fiber cement siding, vinyl windows and fiberglass entry doors can also be added to a home exterior to make it easier to maintain. And, to highlight all those key features of the house, polyurethane millwork can be used.

Resistant to rot, moisture, mold, insects, cracking and impact, decorative millwork pieces from Nu-Wood are lightweight, yet durable. Products include accent pieces and trim for around windows and doors, shutters, louvers, porch and rail post coverings, brackets, gables and corbels. Whether used beneath the eaves of the roof to add architectural accent or as design elements surrounding windows, the resilient polyurethane pieces stand up to severe weather conditions without warping or decay.

Bathroom Changes with Big Impact

Inside the house, the key room requiring changes as people grow older is the bathroom. From adding grab bars to removing slip-hazard throw rugs, there are many easy changes homeowners can tackle to make their lives easier and safer.

"People choosing to stay in their current homes as they age can make small changes to make their bathroom living space more comfortable," says Adriana Miller, product manager with Mansfield Plumbing. "The simple task of swapping out a standard toilet for a higher SmartHeightTM toilet allows a person to more easily access the toilet. Grab bars installed on the walls can also help someone get up and down easier from the toilet."

Another bathroom change that can be made is to replace a standard bathtub with a walk-in tub. A low seven-inch entry threshold, a 17-inch high ADA-compliant seat and easy-to-access cable-operated drain all make the Restore ACR Walk-In Tub a strong candidate for aging Baby Boomers. Available as a bathtub, whirlpool, air bath, combination whirlpool and air bath, or MicroDerm Therapeutic Bath, Restore ACR has a water-tight inward swinging door, textured slip-resistant floor, and a high seat that allows the bather to remain upright while being completely submerged.

To gain more privacy in the bathroom, along with natural ventilation, Baby Boomers can choose to replace standard windows with easy-to-operate decorative glass or acrylic block windows. As opposed to the strain of pushing and pulling open single- or double-hung windows, both crank-handled casement and slider windows are easier to operate as the body gets older. With privacy windows, homeowners also don't need to deal with curtains, window shades or other window treatments to gain privacy in the home.

"Whether homeowners are in their mid-fifties on the low end of the Baby Boomer spectrum or entering their seventies, everyone wants more privacy in their bathroom," says Roger Murphy, president of Hy-Lite, a U.S. Block Windows Company. "Easy-to-operate privacy windows make life so much simpler for homeowners. This one change in a bathroom setting can immensely impact the comfort level a person feels in their own home."