Aging in Place
One in three people over 65 will have a disability at some point in their senior years and one in four Canadians will be over 65 by 2045. Research is showing that many seniors will move more than once in the later stages in life. Often this is a result of either the lack of appropriate and accessible housing or the lack of proper caregiver supports. When surveyed, 85% of seniors expressed their preference for aging in the place that they live. The question is, what are Canadians doing to prepare for this goal?
Given that the proportion of our population made up of older adults with disabilities is growing quickly too few older adults are aware of the benefits of modifying their homes to be more comfortable, safe, and supportive of their lifestyles. Fewer still know where to turn for funding or expertise in making these modifications. Modifying homes(e.g. house, condo, rental apartment) to be safe and accessible is key to accommodating the changing needs of our aging population as well as younger people living with disabilities in order to allow them to age in place.
The existing patchwork of organizations and programs (government funding, tax incentives, Architects, Occupational Therapists, standards for construction contractors, etc.) does not provide the capacity to address the urgent needs of our growing aging population.
This patchwork presents barriers to those working in the home modifications industry, as well as to the consumer or family caregiver who must navigate the planning and financing of these important home adaptations. There is a need to modernize this sector by providing older adults and their caregivers with:
- Ways for a consumer to locate experts nearby
- Support with planning and financing of home modifications
- Online directories of qualified contractors, architects, occupational therapists & designers
- Connections to other stakeholders such as building supply companies, home improvement retailers, specialty products and home care technologies for home safety, banks/financial institutions and other industry partners
The overall goal of Home Modification Canada is to increase the availability, quality and navigability of the home modifications sector to enable consumers to age in safer, more accessible homes.
The specific objectives of Home Modification Canada are to:
- Mobilize national, provincial and industry partners to play a stronger role in strengthening home modification capacity across Canada
- Stimulate the development of home modification programs and educational initiatives for contractors, home and community health professionals and family caregivers
- Promote a national certification program for those working in the home modification industry
- Increase consumer and family caregiver knowledge about home modification options, planning tools and financing methods for aging in place
- Promote innovative national and provincial government policies and financing mechanisms for home modifications
- Encourage design and technology innovation in this sector