• Sadie Scotch

What COVID-19 Means for Age in Place Home Remodeling

Updated: Sep 14


“Age in Place” home remodeling is not a new concept that was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, but daily searches for specialists in this field are on the rise and this is no doubt directly related to the tragic loss of life in nursing and assisted living homes. Previously, aging in place was increasing in popularity because of the number of people entering their Sunset Years. The choice of remaining at home highlighted an individual’s freedom to do as she wished instead of conforming to meal and other schedules at retirement homes.


So our older generations, and the loved ones who look after them, have been upgrading and refitting their homes to set them up for a safe and comfortable living situation for years. But now that retirement homes are becoming increasingly unsafe for people over 65 and those with preexisting conditions, this trend is destined to sharply increase and the demand for remodelers who specialize in age in place home remodeling will drastically increase as well.


The COVID-19 crisis is an ongoing story, we don’t know when or how it will end. Even when the expiration date to this crisis is known, it is unlikely to be the last pandemic many of us will encounter in our lifetimes. This is the unfortunate stick vs carrot incentive that can propel an industry into overdrive, and make or break individual remodeling showrooms that are slow to respond. This is therefore a great opportunity for home remodelers to serve their clientele in an uncertain time and set them up in a happy home to enjoy and stay safe in during their retirement years.


Some Statistics and Growth Trends – Are Contractors Catching Up?


According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index survey for the 4th quarter of 2018, 77% of remodelers were reporting Aging-in-Place work. Combine that with the projection of people age 65 and older doubling in the years between 2018 and 2060, according to the Population Reference Bureau, from 52 to 95 million, and you have a drastic increase in the need for home remodeling services that cater to the elderly and chronically ill.


The problem is, many seniors don’t think of themselves as needing age in place remodeling. We all know an aging family member that doesn’t want to admit they need help...until it's too late. According to the CDC, “more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.”


The good news is that the price tag on age in place home remodeling projects is less than the typical revamp, and can be far less than the costs of a nursing home. According to LongTermCare.gov, the average cost for a private room in a nursing home is $7,698 a month and a one-bedroom room in an assisted living community is about $3,628 per month. Aging in place should thus be music to the ears of baby boomers who are notoriously stingy about their money!


Before we get into how home remodelers can advertise their age in place services to the Sunset Generation, let’s go over some examples of remodels that fall into this category.


Examples of Age in Place Remodeling Projects:


Widening doorways or removing doors altogether

Installing lever-style doorknobs

Grab bar additions in bathrooms

Replacing floors with slip-resistant surfaces

Wheelchair ramps in the garage

Adjusting kitchen counters and cabinets

Installing chair lifts in stairwells

These are just a few typical examples that home remodelers should be prepared for when discussing the needs of home upgrades for their elderly clients. Be sure to listen to their unique situations, and offer helpful advice in terms of what has been most useful to your other clients who had similar needs.


How to Be a Trusted Expert in Age in Place Home Remodeling



A lot of seniors or people with chronic conditions are thrown into emergency age in place home remodeling and are not doing it from a strategic point of view. They therefore might just want to address one very pressing situation, like if they fell and need a stairlift installed in their stairwell to help them get to their upstairs bedrooms. Little do they anticipate that more modifications are coming, such as the need for bathroom grab bars or a shower refit for roll-in wheelchair access.


Forward-thinking home remodeling experts would be prudent to advise and guide their clients towards these longer-term upgrades. Just like how home designers sit down with a young couple to craft a kitchen remodel that suits their specific tastes and needs relevant to their kitchen activities, age in place clientele also need a sophisticated expert to understand their use case and to guide them towards the long term remodeling that is in their best interest.


And just like all home remodels, the one-size-fits-all approach is not applicable to age in place remodeling. So asking thoughtful questions of your client or your client’s next of kin is crucial to understand their specific needs. This pertains to the actual needs of the client but also the current state of their home – so sketch out their path from garage or front door to the daily activities and nighttime behavior they engage in to understand the key areas of the home you’ll need to address.


Remember, after your project work is complete, your satisfied clients will be talking to friends and family in their seniors’ networks about your good work, so being as helpful as possible at every step in the process and nailing the finished project is key to winning more clients.


How to Market to This Audience?


Just like most online digital marketing tactics, you want to capture keywords around age at home remodeling and how you can help solve your clients' needs. You can blog at regular intervals and/or put some ad money behind this kind of content. Before any of that, you’ll want to identify the target market for these articles. As I mentioned before, it’s not just the end-user of the home remodel, the elderly or chronically ill person or people, but also their children and loved ones who will be Influencing these decisions. So figure out the pain points or problems all of these personas are trying to solve and build those keywords into your articles!


For example, the millennial children of the older generation might be searching for, how to prevent falls in the home, at their awareness stage, best ways to install wheelchair ramps throughout the house, at their consideration stage and, contractors that specialize in age in place home renovations near me, at their decision stage. Use services like SEMRush or Moz.com to figure out the search volumes of these keywords and their availability, and you’ve got the beginnings on a content marketing strategy!


Conclusions


Of course, to truly be prepared to implement these services once your clients find you, it would be wise to become certified as an Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) through the NAHB. This designation gives you the technical and people-facing skills to be able to complete a residential home remodel. You need to know the right questions to ask, understand the day to day habits of your clients and the most appropriate ways to deliver the best services to this demanding group of individuals.


Want to learn more about how to capture retirement generation leads online, directly to your website, and get them converting? Speak with us today about how we can roll out age in place marketing campaigns to entice your communities’ seniors to work with you and get their homes set up for success!


Reach out to schedule a call! Or contact us at 267-714-4224 or at hello@deepdrawer.com,


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