Renew Your Home
by Maggie Kraft
While attending the American Society on Aging’s annual conference in San Francisco this March, I ran into Louis Tenenbaum, the founder and president of HomesRenewed™ a coalition of stakeholders with the mission to significantly increase the number of American homes prepared for residents to live throughout the modern lifespan.
He has a great web page and brochure, so with his permission, I am sharing some of his thoughts from those resources.
“It is fundamentally unjust to continue medical miracles that add years to our lives without also updating homes to live those lives joyfully and with dignity,” Tenenbaum says.
As the number of increasingly older Americans grows, over 80% consistently say that they want to remain in their own home but most houses do not support this choice. Better, safer, and more economical options are needed.
Tenenbaum believes that small investments in home updates will help people live longer, better and less expensively. He is sure the simple message “save money” will resonate with consumers of all ages who are remodeling their homes in a way that messages about safety or nursing home avoidance have not.
Health occurrences, such as a fall or stroke that render one unable to use their home, come on suddenly. Home updates are not so easily purchased and carried out in a tight time frame. They are best purchased in advance. Incentives should not be limited to older homeowners or those with disabilities. Any home improvements should also update homes.
Baby boomers, as a group, dominate spending in the home improvement market. 83% of US wealth is held by people over 50. Yet, while some businesses realize this can be a boost for their bottom line while helping people live where and how they want to, the market for home updates has not grown as expected.
Tenenbaum wonders why this simple concept hasn’t caught on to a much greater degree. After all, “updating homes isn’t new. We’ve added plumbing, electricity, furnaces, fiber optics, cable and solar collectors.”
The group is lobbying for tax and other financial incentives at the federal, state and local level and partnering with private industries and investors to provide incentives to improve the quality of our homes and make them more suitable for our aging needs. They want to make it easy to get rebates, premium discounts or tax credits on home improvements.
One bill they would like to move forward at the federal level is The Senior Accessible Housing Act, HR 1780, introduced in the House of Representatives on March 29, 2017. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow a nonrefundable personal tax credit for modifying residences to enhance their ability to remain living safely, independently, and comfortably in their residences.
The credit would apply to up to $30,000 of the expenses that individuals who are at least 60 years old incur over their lifetime to make modifications to their residences.
The HomesRenewed™ coalition is made up of representatives across a number of industries, including:
• Manufacturers, distributers, retailers and installers of building, medical equipment and technology products who stand to gain with increasing jobs and their bottom line
• Service providers like home care, electronic monitoring, meals and transportation which help keep clients living longer and safer in the environments they choose
• Long term care and health insurance companies who have healthier clients paying premiums longer while costing less.
Ultimately the most important members of this coalition are we, the People, who need to let our elected officials know that we must house and care for older adults in a much better way. To learn more and get involved, go to HomesRenewed.org or ask your local elected officials how they plan to make it easier and more affordable to do this here.
** Image from https://visual.ly/community/in...