The Ultimate Aging Baby Boomer Home Design Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Designers and contractors want to produce homes to accommodate the future needs of the many American baby boomers. Baby boomers are standing firm on the principle of remaining in their homes well after retirement. Baby boomer design has thus moved from a concept to a necessity. Take our quiz to see the future of home design, even if you're not a baby boomer.

What exactly is a baby boomer?

Baby boomers are considered Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964, although Canadians and citizens from other countries born in that period will argue that they are also boomers. Some experts also dispute the exact birth year range that includes baby boomers.


How many baby boomers were born in American between 1946 and 1964?

There were about 75 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. The first wave of baby boomers will turn 65 this year, 2011.


What percentage of the U.S population will baby boomers represent by 2015?

By 2015, baby boomers will represent 35% of the population of the United States. Experts predict that baby boomers will have a dramatic impact on the way we build homes and already building design innovation is being fueled by their demands.


What percentage of Americans 45 years or older strongly agreed that they would stay in their homes after retirement in a year 2000 survey by the AARP?

In a 2000 survey conducted by the AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), 71 percent of Americans aged 45 and older said that they "strongly agreed" that they wanted to stay in their homes. Most baby boomers indicated they would not want to flock to retirement villages like past generations.


What is a common term used to describe seniors who want to remain in their own homes versus retirement homes or moving in with their children?

People are choosing to spend their retirement years in the same way that they spent most of their lives by living independently in their own home. The trend is referred to as aging in place and companies are making money by renovating or constructing homes to facilitate unassisted elderly living.


What influence does the home building industry believe that aging citizens will have on home design in the next few years?

According to NAHB, the home building industry feels that aging will be the second-biggest influence on home design coming second only to finding enough skilled workers to construct homes.


What design concept are baby boomers embracing for incorporation in their homes?

There is a fundamental difference between accessibility design and the baby design strategy of choice, universal design. Universal Design is focused on building homes that everyone can use, where accessibility guidelines are written for people with disabilities.


How long has the concept of universal design been circulating among builders

The concept of universal design has been hanging around since the 1970s, but only recently has it really caught on with builders. The concept was boosted when the AARP endorsed the idea of universal design, considering that so many baby boomers are hitting retirement age.


What percentage of building contractors indicated that they have received an increased number of requests for work related to aging in place?

The national Association of Home Builders polled contractors and discovered that 75 percent of contractors polled reported that they recently received an increase in the number of requests related to aging in place.


How many clear agreed upon concepts make up the base of universal design?

There are seven agreed upon concepts that make up the basis of universal design. The concepts are equitable use, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive, perception informed, size and space for approach and use, tolerance for error, and low physical effort.


What are hallmark characteristics of an entryway to a home designed under the universal design concepts?

A home designed with universal design concepts should have stepless entry, a wide door, lever door handles and keyless coded door locks. Regardless of any mobility issues, a child should be able to enter as easily as an adult or someone in a wheelchair.


What is essential in a typical two-story home that makes use of universal design concepts?

You should always find at least one bedroom on the first floor and it will likely be a master bedroom, so that aging occupants will not have to climb stairs when this task becomes difficult. There should also be a full bathroom, a kitchen and a living room on the first floor.


What should you observe in a universal design home no matter what room you head for?

Hallways should be wide and accommodate a wheelchair’s turning radius. Most floors will likely be finished with hardwood rather than carpeting, which restricts wheelchair movement and is harder to clean.


What is considered an optimum height for light switches and thermostats in a universal design home?

Light switches, outlets and thermostats should be no more than 48 inches (1.2meters) off the floor. One advantage to this height is that children can also reach light switches on their own.


What is a new trend in catering to baby boomers needs when accommodating aging in place design with universal design principles?

There is a trend by many companies to make stylish accessories for the elderly such as grab bars, designer shower chairs, easy open cupboard hardware, etc.


What may you expect to see in the mater or main bathroom in a universal design home?

You can expect a large shower instead of a bathtub, a higher toilet than normal and countertops set at different levels. In the last few years, manufactures have designed new walk-in-bathtubs that open up so you can walk-in close the door, fill up the tub while you sit on a built in seat and a quick draining feature when you are finished bathing.


How much will incorporating a universal design typically add to the cost of building a new home?

According to many experts will incorporating a universal design will typically add about 5 percent to the cost of building a home that incorporates universal design principles. Other experts actually claim that implementing universal design will not add any costs at all.


What is one downside to engaging in a renovation project to change an existing home over to a universal design home?

Many of the universal design renovations can cost you up to 20 times more than if you implemented these features in a new home construction. For example, a wider doorway during home construction may cost only $6 more, but a renovation may cost up to $650 for reworking the doorway.


What is an additional benefit to having universal design principals incorporated into your new home even if you are young?

When you decide to sell a home that was built on universal design principles, you're likely to find that this will increase its resale value and help it to sell faster.


In what year did the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) create the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program?

In 2002, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) created the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program in association with the AARP. The program trains professionals to design and create homes that meets the needs of the aging.


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