Tag Archives: Aging In Place

More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

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More Canadians are looking at ageing in place

I recently read an article about a survey conducted by the National Institute on Ageing at Toronto’s Ryerson University saying that COVID-19 has more people thinking about ageing in place. The survey of 1,517 Canadians suggests more seniors want to continue living at home as they age, rather than move to a retirement home or long-term care facility.

Sixty per cent of respondents said the pandemic had changed their opinions on whether they would arrange for themselves or an older loved one to live in a retirement home. Seventy per cent of respondents aged 65 and older said they would try to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible.

Do you feel the same about your own ageing process? The good news is, you can stay in your present home as long as you want if you design it to meet your future lifestyle needs. Here are some things to consider.


You can make your washrooms safer and help prevent falls by having smooth transitions between floor finishes. Installing a curbless or roll-in shower is a great idea if you want to remain independent. You might want to have a seat in the shower and install a hand-held spout lower on the wall for easier access. And, a floating vanity provides easy wheelchair access.


Consider wider doorways and hallways to accommodate wheelchairs. Think about stairlifts and elevators for the future. When it comes to the kitchen, you can install upper cabinets that lower with a slight pull on a handle for easier access. Lastly, think about a dual-height kitchen island or counter to accommodate both those in a wheelchair and everyone else in the family.

Tax credits

The provincial government recently announced the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit, which can help you make your home safer and more accessible. The tax credit is worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior’s principal residence in Ontario. The maximum credit is $2,500.

This is only a short list of what you need to consider. We could get into more detail, such as addressing lighting quality to help with visual impairments, or other potential situations that need special consideration, but the best thing to do is to work with a RenoMark renovator who has a certified ageing in place specialist on staff. These professionals know what to do, have the correct licences and will ensure that you do it legally and correctly the first time. Your home and safety are not places to cut corners. Find out more by visiting renomark.ca.

Dave Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, @bildgta, or visit the website.


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Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program

Get certified – The CHBA’s Canadian Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program is launching soon

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Get certified – The CHBA’s Canadian Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist program is launching soon

Numbers don’t lie, and the story that the figures from Statistics Canada tell us is that we have a rapidly aging population. Of course, individual Canadians aren’t getting older any faster. But, as the huge cohort of Baby Boomers ages, the number of us considered to be seniors is growing at an unprecedented rate. In fact, there are now more Canadians aged 65 and older than there are who are 14 or younger (see chart).

There are many healthcare and social issues related to an aging population, and one of the biggest is how to safely shelter elderly people who may have mobility, vision, and cognitive impairments. Yet, when surveyed, most older Canadians want to stay in their current homes in familiar surroundings for as long as possible.

That’s why the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has been busy getting a Canadian version of the Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program off the ground. Originally developed by the U.S. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), CHBA has modified the U.S. program to meet Canadian requirements, calling it C-CAPS.

To qualify as a C-CAPS expert, participating renovators and homebuilders will start with a self-guided online course that takes about six hours to complete. At the end, there’s a test. That’s to be followed by a two-day in-class program, that also includes a test.

A large part of the program is understanding the various stakeholders involved in properly modifying a home to meet the owner’s current and potential needs. Key among those are the occupational therapists (OTs) that work directly with homeowners to understand their current and future needs. Others may include architects, designers, and municipal building and healthcare officials. To be done properly, aging-in-place modifications require collaboration among all parties, and contractors will have to be able to manage the various needs and requests, while providing homeowners with viable and cost-effective options.

The program will include information on the various grants and loan programs offered by product manufacturers and the various levels of government that can help make these renovations affordable for people on fixed incomes.

Once completed, C-CAPS certification can be used as a marketing tool to set renovators apart from their jack-of-all-trades competitors. To support that, CHBA will launch both a training and marketing site for renovators, and a separate site for consumers so they understand the value of hiring a certified C-CAPS specialist.

The “Canadianization” of the programs content has primarily included replacing U.S. housing and demographic stats and government contacts with Canadian ones. The home modifications needed for specific health conditions are the based on the client and the home, which means the same modifications would be done in both countries. CHBA is running three pilot sessions to test and modify the course material as needed. The association expects to have the program fully operational by spring 2020.

Freelance writer ALLAN BRITNELL is the managing editor of Renovation Contractor, and the editor of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s members’ magazine, Building Excellence, both produced by the Homes Publishing Group.


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Get ready for C-Caps

Get ready for C-Caps

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Get ready for C-Caps

The new Canadian aging-in-place specialist program is launching this fall.

by Elizabeth Malcolm, CHBA Communications and Social Media Officer

The oft-repeated phrase, “Demographics is Destiny” dates back to an obscure 19th century Frenchman, but it remains true today. The saying has taken on new meaning as Canada’s population goes through an unprecedented shift in age distribution.

We are all aware of the aging of Canada’s population, but both the extent of this trend, and the opportunities it opens for CHBA’s renovator members, are more significant than most of us realize.

CHBA is about to change that by launching the new Canadian Aging-in-Place Specialist program (C-CAPS) this fall. This member-service Get ready for initiative has been a high priority for CHBA’s Home Modification Council, as well as the Canadian Renovators’ Council, both of which have collaborated in its development.

Drawing on the well-established CAPS program developed in the U.S. by the National Association of Home Builders, C-CAPS is a truly Canadian version, designed and developed specifically for CHBA renovators.

The C-CAPS training and certification program aims to get out in front of a huge demographic wave on the way, and help renovators to get themselves set up to service – and capitalize on – this growing market.

The “grey wave”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 there were more than 6 million Canadians who were aged 65 or older, representing 15.6 percent of Canada’s population.

By 2030 – less than 11 years from now – seniors will number more than 9.5 million and make up 23 percent of Canadians.

As the chart, “Demographics are Destiny,” shows, this is the culmination of a long-term trend that has seen the number of seniors in Canada overtake the number of children, reversing a demographic relationship that had been in place since before Canada became a country.

Improved healthcare and longevity mean that someone aged 65 today can expect to live another 20 years or so. As a result, new parents today will likely have to care for their elder relatives longer than for their own children.

Between 1921 and 2005, average life expectancy at birth rose substantially in Canada, from 58.8 to 78 years for men and from 60.6 to 82.7 years for women. In all likelihood, the trend to increasing longevity will continue to swell the ranks of Canada’s senior population even further in the years ahead.

The home modification market

With so many more seniors, the key question for our industry becomes, “Where are they all going to live?”

Contrary to what many demographers forecast in the past, the overwhelming majority of Canadian seniors want to stay right where they are. They much prefer to age-in-place in a home and neighbourhood they know than to downsize into a condo or seniors-only community.

And this is where the C-CAPS program comes into the picture.

An aging population will have more complex housing needs, particularly if most seniors intend to stay put in their current home. Simply put, as we age we will inevitably encounter a range of mobility and other health-related challenges. Challenges our homes were not designed to accommodate easily.

So aging-in-place will require modifications to our homes that respond to our specific needs and challenges – mobility and otherwise. And everyone’s needs will be somewhat unique.

Delivering these modifications will require an industry that has the knowledge and the professional connections to do the job right.

That’s what C-CAPS will provide to Association renovators: technical and design training, product and material knowledge, and a solid understanding of who they need to have on their team to deliver high-quality results.

CHBA is also developing a consumer website to provide information to the public about aging-in-place, available home modification grants and assistance, and to promote C-CAPS renovators.

How big is this market? If we include mobility assistance devices and other products designed to support aging-in-place, estimates range up to $30 billion per year. And growing.

Not just another renovation

While many seniors needing home modifications may well have had previous renovation work done on their home, they will need an expert with specialized knowledge and experience to help them age-in-place. And until now, finding such professionals has been extremely difficult.

Home modifications involve a very specialized range of skills. Obviously, the renovator must know about how the physical space needs to be designed, and how to integrate and install mobility assistance and other devices and products.

But home modification also involves other professionals, like occupational therapists (OTs), who are critical in developing a modification plan that addresses homeowners’ specific needs, both today and in the future. Collaborating with OTs, designers, architects, and building officials requires a different approach than is typical in general renovations. In many cases, health authorities and insurers may also need be part of the team.

The C-CAPS approach

Earning a C-CAPS designation will require training. The CHBA program involves a prerequisite online course with subsequent in-class sessions, both of which will include testing.

Successful completion of both parts of the course will earn you your C-CAPS certificate. An additional online training module focusing on marketing and sales for business owners will also be available.

As the course rolls out, CHBA expects to introduce continuing education requirements for C-CAPS renovators to keep everyone up-to-date as many things in this area are changing fast in terms of technology improvements, especially in the area of electronics and networked medical devices.

Why being ahead of the curve matters

Clearly, C-CAPS will position CHBA renovators as the go-to professionals for those needing aging-in-place home modifications. In fact, it opens up a new upselling opportunity for anyone doing a renovation project for homeowners who expect to age-in-place, but currently have no mobility issues. And it will create significant business opportunities for C-CAPS renovators to work with other healthcare professionals, such as OTs.

Perhaps most importantly, it will provide consumers with a reliable way to identify competent home modification professionals. Seniors have long been targetted by unscrupulous contractors, and C-CAPS will help reduce this problem.

Finally, by helping to make aging-in-place a more practical option for older Canadians, Canada’s healthcare system will benefit tremendously. Too often, seniors end up in an assisted living facility long before necessary, simply because they can no longer cope in their homes. The public cost of such unnecessary institutionalization is immense, and likely not sustainable.

Creating a national group of professional C-CAPS renovators is a major step in addressing this problem.

For updates, email C-CAPS@chba.ca

Elizabeth Malcolm, CHBA Communications and Social Media Officer


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Aging in Place

Aging in Place

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Aging in Place

by Michael Moskowitz

To prepare for the impending wave of seniors Canada needs to rethink how it supports the aging population.

Aging is a complex topic. And where much of the debate is often spent focused on the healthcare spending implications, there are many other elements that need to be explored. For example, isolation of seniors has real implications for our society. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, social connection should be a public health priority. As our population continues to age, the result will be a dramatic greying of Canada’s demography – one that has implications for housing, the healthcare system, national economy and government policy.

To prepare for this impending wave of seniors – the largest cohort ever according to Statistics Canada – Canada needs to rethink how it supports the aging population through the implementation of functional housing and care solutions that will allow them to thrive within their communities.

By 2031, nearly one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65. Thankfully we can look to other nations who are grappling with this situation. In Japan this demographic shift will happen over next 10 to 20 years. Because Japan’s government, businesses and society are facing these challenges earlier than North American countries, we can learn and benefit from their innovations and technology and start considering how we can better serve our seniors.

In fact, as the Japanese recognized isolation would have a negative impact on its large senior population, a steady increase in retirement communities emerged throughout the country. Not simply homes, communities. City planning and design has a focus on senior support, which better enables elders and healthcare workers to lead healthier lives.

A recent report from Senior Care Canada examined senior care in Japan, highlighting how the government has worked hard to quickly problem solve and create solutions as demand for senior care services has grown. In addition to implementing innovative products to assist the elderly and their caregivers, they have also restructured resources, such as schools that were no longer required, to convert them to care and community centres for seniors. This has translated into a better quality of life.

How can Canada learn from this model?

As a society we need to learn how to design for purpose and function, not just the lowest cost. By investing in innovative solutions that will enable our seniors to thrive, we are providing a strong foundation for them to maintain their health, lifestyle and independence.

Panasonic recognized the importance of merging the various aspects of caregiver services with housing solutions and the positive impact it could have on Japanese senior citizens and healthcare workers, and created a functional facility in Owada called Age-Free Life.

Uniquely, Age-Free Life was designed by “living environment planners” who fully understand both architecture and nursing care. By employing this level of expertise, Panasonic has built long-term relationships of trust by providing home remodeling services for nursing care based on construction circumstances and the physical conditions of the individual.

By increasing the synergistic effect, Age-Free Life better enables Japan’s seniors to thrive and lead healthy lives in their golden years while decreasing the strain on social and healthcare services.

While the example in Japan is on a large scale, there are smaller scale things we can look at as we prepare for the pending wave of seniors in our nation. We can look at how homes are designed and built to ensure that seniors can live at home longer – from storage to accessibility support. Looking at residential care, can we invest in products that help our healthcare workers provide care that will not harm their bodies as well?

What Canadians can extract from Japan’s model is the duty private industries and the government have to prepare for changes in our demographics.

It is more important than ever to invest in infrastructure, products and services that will help seniors remain independent, while ensuring healthcare workers are supported. Architects and builders need to evaluate and anticipate the needs of Canadian seniors, to ensure sustainable housing is in place.

We need to rethink our approach to support the aging population by implementing functional housing and care solutions that will allow seniors to thrive, before senior care becomes a healthcare or financial crisis.

Michael Moskowitz is president of Panasonic Canada.


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Body & Soul: Live with Ease - Home adjustments for barrier-free living

Body & Soul: Live with Ease

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Body & Soul: Live with Ease

by Jayne Hobbs

Photography, bigstock.com

Home adjustments for barrier-free living

In a definition from Medical-Dictionary. TheFreeDictionary.com – barrier-free refers to structural or architectural design that does not impede use by individuals with special needs. Currently, there are more than four million Canadians living with disabilities. Aging is one of the biggest contributors – and as the boomer generation ages, this figure is expected to snowball.

It’s increasingly important to adapt our living space in a barrier-free manner. An annual physical will keep us in tune to our body’s requirements – both physically and mentally. Being aware of changing needs will help us to stay safe, and reduce the risk of falls. Often the self-imposed barriers that we put on ourselves can be can be improved. With adaptations to our homes, we can enjoy our retirement in an environment that’s conducive to our changing needs.


Each of us has unique needs as it relates to barrier-free living. Accessibility and safety are the main concerns as we age. Our mobility is often affected, making us more prone to falling.

As we enter our elder chapter of life, its often difficult to speculate future needs. If renovating and redesigning your existing home, or purchasing a new home for your retirement, factor in these safety tips.

  • DECLUTTER: Remove items that may cause falls, such as scatter rugs, electric cords, bedspreads that may drag on the floor (many falls occur by tripping on bedding in the middle of the night), as well as items on the stairs, stacks of paper and anything that impedes you from moving around safely.
  • LIGHTING: Luminous lighting should be placed evenly throughout the house. Include night lights or motion detector lighting in halls, stairways, bathrooms and poorly lit areas.
  • FLOORS: Use only slip-resistant throw rugs and bathmats, and avoid high-shine, slippery flooring.

  • STAIRS: Consider placing a hand rail on both sides of the stairs, as well as a secure runner if the stairs are slippery. Again, remove any clutter, and when necessary, install an electric lift.

  • DOORS: Change doorknobs to lever handles, and use pull-outs on cabinets for easier access.

  • GRAB BARS: These are one of the most useful, and safety conscious, items that you can install. Ideal for bathtubs, showers and beside the toilet, they can also be installed anywhere in the house where extra support is needed.
  • COUNTERTOPS AND CABINETS: In both the kitchen and bathroom, keep them tidy and only have necessary items within reach. Consider pull-out shelving and adjustable countertops.
  • FAUCETS: Touch faucets are fairly new on the market, and are definitely worth investing in.
  • BATHROOMS: Walk-in tubs and showers that include seating are highly recommended. Other considerations include, higher toilets or raised safety seats that help with aging knees, as well as slip-resistant flooring, and re-setting the water to a lower temperature in order to prevent scalding.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Transitions from one flooring surface to another should be level, as well as all walkways for easy access. It might be necessary to install a ramp or railings where you enter your home. Likewise, widening door openings may be a future requirement.

Inside your home, everything you need on a regular basis should be easily accessible. Use a mobile phone, and ensure that all important numbers have been programmed in.

These helpful suggestions can be adapted to your existing home environment to help prevent accidents – making aging-in-place a realistic reality.


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Body & Soul: House Calls - Aging in Place

Aging in Place

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Aging in Place

Photography: (interior) courtesy of Evergreen Retirement Community; (bottom) bigstockphoto.com

HOUSE CALLS – Where experts answer questions on beauty, health and wellness.

In this issue, Barbara Perinot, RPN and General Manager of Evergreen Retirement Community (verveseniorliving.com), discusses…

Aging in Place

Q – I am an active sixty-eight-year-old woman and my husband, seventy-two, has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We have decided to sell our house and move to a retirement residence that will give me the independence that I need, and the assistance that my husband might require in the future. Do you have any suggestions as to what to look for?

A – When searching for your future home in a retirement living community, it’s important that the home tries to incorporate your personal, spiritual, physical, social, intellectual and emotional needs through their daily programming.

A retirement home should allow you to live in a comfortable home environment, while enjoying its various amenities and services. A supportive life enrichment program will keep you as busy as you choose to be, while maintaining your independence.

The key to a healthy lifestyle

Quality food is important to a healthy lifestyle, as good food triggers positive memories that are associated with happiness and social interaction. When choosing a retirement home, it’s important to sample the food from the menu.

Aging in place

Supportive care options are very important, and will allow you the freedom to know that your loved one is cared for within the retirement home while you participate in quality programs inside, and outside, of the community. A retirement home that has the option of an assisted living floor will allow for an easier transition when medical, or cognitive, needs change. Aging in place is what retirement homes should strive for, and it’s imperative that wellness initiatives focus on keeping the mind stimulated and engaged.

Healthy mind and body

Physical programs promote a healthy mind and body. Move long and live strong – there’s much to be said for being as active as possible for as long as possible. Physical programs should be able to accommodate people of all abilities and provide a variety of focused programs.

Email questions or concerns for our beauty, health and wellness specialists to jayne@homesmag.com


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