As the population of the United States continues to age, the Aging In Place market will continue to grow and experience rampant innovation. Industry certifications for Aging In Place professionals will serve as key indicators of those committed to staying abreast of these changes, especially for design and renovations.
Table of Contents
- Why Aging In Place Certifications are Important
- Design Related to Aging In Place Projects
- Key Certifications for Aging In Place Professionals
- Aging In Place Product Certifications
- Aging In Place Certification Resources
- Recommended Reading
Why Aging In Place Certifications are Important
As strong proponents of all reputable certification programs for professionals that serve the “home industry”, we especially encourage homeowners to look for firms and individuals that hold certifications related to Aging In Place (AIP).
Highly regarded certificates are not only a confirmation that the holder is well versed and skillful in a given domain, but more importantly, it signals a commitment to staying abreast of industry changes. Innovators always learn and are always looking for ways to improve their services and products.
We expect to see a wide range of innovation within the broad growth market of Aging In Place, both in services and products, for many years to come. As not all new iniatitives will be successful, certification programs will help professionals stay abreast of what is working well and why certain products or approaches have not.
Design Related to Aging In Place Projects
We broadened the category of certifications to design practices that are typically applied for occupants with special needs, such as aging adults, people with disabilities, and households with young children. We did so as these design approaches are similar and they are often interrelated.
For example, a home with young children may need to be altered for visiting grandparents to accommodate their needs for comfort and safety. Conversely, an Aging In Place household may need some modifications for visiting grandchildren for safety and accessibility.
Design practices closely related to Aging In Place projects include:
- Universal Design
- Accessible Design
- Adaptable Design
- Multigenerational Living Design
The general goal of Universal Design, in particular, is broader than Aging-In-Place and Accessible Design as it aims to improve the usage of a space for everyone. The universal approach pertains to being able to address the needs of different occupant profiles and speaks to adaptability in order to enable a wide range of residents to connect with a living space effectively.
Accessible Design is a design practice that directly addresses the needs of people with physical disabilities to make a living space “accessible” to them. Designing living spaces for independence is a key goal of this design method. This design is also closely related to the building standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandates that public facilities and services be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
Adaptable Design is also critical skill to look for when hiring a designer, as it will foster feasible options for a space to evolve with the unique needs of its occupants over time. Not all future needs can be anticipated at the start of a project, but a flexible design will go a long way to making a space a good fit for its residents.
Designing for Multigenerational Living is a good example of a hybrid approach that provides flexible layouts and flow that are accommodating for both group interaction, as well as much needed individual privacy.
Key Certifications for Aging In Place Professionals
The aging population in the United States is the main driver for the growing popularity of Aging In Place certifications within the home industry. Here are leading certification programs that top industry professionals are using to educate themselves to provide better services for the Aging In Place market:
- CAPS: Certified Aging In Place Specialist (NAHB)
- UDCR: Universal Design Certified Remodeler (NARI)
- CLIPP: Certified Living in Place Professional (LIPI)
- HATS: Home & Accessibility Trade Specialist (LIPI)
CAPS: Certified Aging In Place Specialist
A key certification program for Aging In Place specialists is CAPS: Certified Aging In Place Specialist, a program run by NAHB (the National Association of Home Builders). The goal of this certification program is to prepare construction and design professionals to understand the needs of homeowners who want to stay in their homes as they age.
According the NAHB, Aging In Place is the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry. The educational and training materials help attendees develop the following skills and knowledge:
- Create comprehensive designs for Aging In Place projects
- Become familiar with innovative and specialized products
- Practice design and installation for key components of an AIP home design
- Implement techniques of budget integration into design and product selection
- Identify common missteps for design and installation of AIP solutions
- Review and apply solutions for common single-room modifications cases
- Identify common installation considerations for modifications of a specified space
- Prioritize solutions in a whole house multi-generational case study with consideration given to phased construction
Additional information on this program:
UDCR: Universal Design Certified Remodeler
Run by NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry), the UDCR certification program addresses the key concepts of Universal Design as applied to residential remodeling, covering the following areas of expertise:
- Conducting client needs assessments
- Universal design applications used in residential remodeling
- Construction techniques used to implement universal design to a remodeling project
- Plumbing and electrical systems unique to universal design
- Differences between the universal model of building codes and ones described in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Additional information on this program:
- Directory of NARI Remodelers: Select “Universal Design Remodeler” in the Specialty field
- 7 Principles of Universal Design for Remodeling
- 5 Steps for Universal Design
- Why Hire a NARI Certified Professional?
CLIPP: Certified Living in Place Professional
The Certified Living in Place Professional Program (CLIPP) was created by The Living In Place Institute (LIPI), as part of their larger mission of improving Home Accessibility, Health and Safety, Connected Environments for All Ages and Abilities.
Though CLIPP certainly relates to Aging In Place design, the program is defined as the practice of making all homes accessible, healthy and safe for everyone, regardless of age or needs.
The CLIPP program was created for home designers, interior designers, remodelers and builders, as well as medical providers. Given the growth in Aging In Place projects, the CLIPP certification program is in high demand and is recognized by many leading trade associations, as part of their continuing education programs, such as:
- AIA: American Institute of Architects
- ASHI: American Society for Home Inspectors
- ASID: American Society of Interior Designers
- IDCEC: Interior Design Continuing Education Council
- IIDA: International Interior Design Association
- NAHB: National Association of Home Builders
- NARI: National Association of the Remodeling Industry
- NKBA: National Kitchen & Bath Association
HATS: Home & Accessibility Trade Specialist
The HATS program, also created by LIPI, is targeted to trade professionals who build spaces and install products, such as general contractors, plumbers, electricians and carpenters. The program incorporates LIPI’s view that all homes should be accessible, healthy, safe, and beautiful.
Aging In Place Product Certifications
Accessible Plumbing Fixtures
The Accessible Plumbing Fixtures testing and certification program by Home Innovation Research Labs, confirm that products adhere to ICC/ANSI A117.1, a code that focuses on specific parts of an accessible plumbing fixture to ensure ease of use for those with limited or impaired physical abilities. Tests are also conducted to check for compliance with the CSA B45.5/IAPMO Z124 standard for plastic bathtub and shower units, including slip resistance, if requested by the manufacturer.
Aging In Place Certification Resources
- Directory of NAHB Member Companies with CAPS Designation
- Directory of NARI Remodelers
- USC: National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Resources
- Directory of CAPS Remodelers
- Aging In Place Remodeling Checklist
- The Best Aging in Place Products for Seniors
- IDEA: Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access University at Buffalo
- Occupational Therapy Home Evaluations
- ADA Standards for Accessible Design
- Aging In Place Technology for Today and Tomorrow
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