According to a recent Home Depot poll featured in the Chicago Tribune, of the 60 percent of baby boomers who plan to stay put in their current homes during the next five years, 65 percent expect to take on home-improvements.

National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah said baby boomers are not downsizing because they had families late and do not plan to retire right away. While some are including universal design features in their remodels to help them age in place, others are being reminded by their design contractors that it is important to install elderly-friendly items well before they are needed. Boomers can get help from the National Association of Home Builders’ 1,000-plus certified aging-in-place specialists, who understand the importance of aesthetics when it comes to universal design.

While the cost of specialty items designed specifically for the elderly is typically higher than standard products, remodelers believe prices will come down as more vendors enter the market. Common age-proof features include additional lighting and more accessible lighting controls, appliances with front instead of top controls, dishwashers with drawers and refrigerators with freezers on the bottom.

Renovation will be a good source of work this year, and if you equip yourself to handle these baby boomer issues, you may be able to work yourself into a niche.     EC

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