Aging in Place with Grace Thanks to CAPS


More and more Americans are choosing to spend their ‘golden years’ living independently in their own homes – a goal that is increasingly possible thanks to the growing number of products and remodeling professionals that are working to make homes more comfortable and accessible to aging adults. This field of interior design is growing so rapidly, in fact, that “CAPS,” or “Certified Aging in Place Specialist” has been created to train professionals in this relatively new design field.  The Professor recently sat down with Kalpesh Nanji, Director of Business Development at American Standard Brands and recent CAPS designee, to learn more about the program.

Kalpesh Nanji, Director of Business Development at American StandardCongratulations on earning your CAPS designation, Kal. Can you begin by telling us a bit more about what this means?

CAPS stands for Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist. The designation program includes three required courses, community service projects, and a commitment to continuing education. The program offers an overview of the skills required to help make homes more accessible for persons with disabilities, persons with progressive conditions, persons whose abilities have changed due to a fall, a stroke, or illness, and also persons who understand that their needs may change in the future and need safe and accessible solutions in their home.

Who created the CAPS program and why?

The program was organized by The Remodelers™ Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in collaboration with the NAHB Research Center, NAHB Seniors Housing Council and the AARP. These organizations agreed that the skills that professionals attain by completing the program would be essential to meet the needs of the 77 million Baby Boomers who will reach retirement age in the first years of the 21st Century. Homeowners can be confident that a remodeler with a CAPS designation has been fully trained to help them remain in their homes safely, independently, and comfortably throughout their maturing years, regardless of their income or physical ability level.

What sort of modifications can you make to a home for someone who wishes to “age in place”?

The bathroom is one room in the home where modifications are particularly important. Bathing can become more dangerous and uncomfortable because of the slippery surfaces involved. Many older adults also find it harder to climb in and out of a bathtub without assistance. This is where products like the Seated Safety Shower and Walk-In Baths can be a tremendous help in allowing older adults to continue their bathing regimens without assistance. Throughout the home, modifications like wider doorways and lever handle door knobs are other important considerations.

Why did you decide to go for your CAPS designation?

Professionals and customers have witnessed years of environments and products which do not work for a wide range of users and needs.  They are increasingly looking for products which can meet a variety of needs, and are discouraged when they encounter products which fail to do so, as well as manufacturers who are not educated in these issues.  I knew this program would offer me the skills and design knowledge I would need to serve the “aging in place” segment of the residential remodeling industry, which is one of the fastest growing markets in the country. I also strongly support the idea of helping maturing adults to age in dignity and comfort in their own homes, so I am glad to be able to offer educated assistance for our customers and consumers in creating safe and accessible project solutions

Thanks for your time, Kal, and best of luck in your future work in this field.

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