For the first time in American history, U.S. Census Bureau predicts senior citizens will outnumber children by 2030. The Bureau also estimates that one in every five Americans will be at least 65-years or older.
This supports the increasing need to prepare homes for elder family members.
Here in Hawaii especially, where island culture lends itself to families caring for their kupuna, the growth of the older population has and will continue to affect families and living arrangements.
Building and renovating so grandma can live with the family can be tricky. Many island homes are more than 60-years old and built before wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks were commonly used at home.
With 30 years of helping hundreds of Hawaii families, Graham Builders recognizes the importance of educating homeowners about the modifications needed to help family members stay at home as they get older.
In fact, Graham Builders is the first firm in Hawaii to have a certified aging-in-place specialist — a certification program administered by the National Association of Home Builders — on staff. Today, Graham Builders is proud to have three specialists helping families make necessary changes for the mobility and safety of the elderly residing in their homes.
“With Hawaii’s population aging so rapidly, it’s important that universal design and accessibility are the starting points of design for all homes,” said Ryan Graham, vice president of Graham Builders. “Being young and healthy should not deter homeowners from considering universal design features for their homes, as this allows for comfort no matter what their health circumstances are. The key words to remember are safety, security, comfort and health.”
Basic aging-in-place and universal design features include single-level homes, larger bathrooms with zero-step showers and a more open layout that allows for ease of moving from room to room. Other features include better and more accessible storage, non-slip surfaces, nightlights, space for caregivers and technology for assisted care, such as electrical bandwidth for monitoring machines.
Some features such as grab bars, comfort-height toilets and some home security systems are low-cost items. Others such as wider hallways and doors, good lighting and no-step features are considered medium-cost items but work well for wheelchairs and baby strollers.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Graham Builders remains the only design+build contractor in Hawaii honored by the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. For more information, visit grahambuilders.com or call (808) 593-2808.