Certified aging in place specialists (CAPS) offer services to seniors and older adults as home remodelers, healthcare professionals and home care providers. These services have grown in popularity among those who want to maintain their dignity and independence as they age. A CAPS professional can help modify homes to make them safer and more comfortable for aging adults. Here’s what you need to know about CAPS.
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What Is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)?
CAPS are professionals with specialized training to help them modify homes for adults who want to age in place instead of moving to a new home. Their training gives them the skills necessary to make homes more accessible, safer and more comfortable for aging adults and those with disabilities.
In the CAPS designation programs, participants learn the technical, customer service and business management skills necessary to provide these essential services. They also learn skills in the areas of universal design principles, home assessment, product recommendations and installation techniques. Certification is provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
For those who began the CAPS curriculum after Jan. 1, 2018, the following requirements for certification must be met:
- Complete and submit the online CAPS graduation application or the print version
- Submit a signed copy of the CAPS code of ethics pledge or agree to the terms electronically
Remodelers/Contractors are required to submit the following documentation:
- Proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance or proof that you are an employee of a company that holds both (where required by local jurisdiction)
- A valid business license (if the state requires one)
NABH also requires CAPS professionals to complete four hours of continuing education (CE) credits per year. While no proof of completion is required, NABH may contact designees directly and ask for proof of CE. If it has been three years since your designation lapsed, you will be required to take or retake CAPS III or Universal Design Essentials.
Services Offered by a Certified Aging in Place Specialists
Certified aging in place specialists offer a range of services to help older adults modify their homes. Initially, the CAPS will perform a home assessment to identify areas that may pose safety or accessibility issues. They will inspect factors like lighting, flooring, doorways and stairways to make recommendations for modifications. Those modifications might include adding non-slip flooring, adding grab bars, widening doorways and installing ramps or stair lifts.
A CAPS will also be able to recommend assistive technology and other products that can improve the safety of the home. They may also recommend certain products like shower benches, raised toilet seats and stairlifts. In addition, the CAPS can oversee the entire project from start to finish, coordinating with contractors and ensuring the project is completed within your budget.
Who Should Consider Hiring a Certified Aging in Place Specialist?
While a CAPS can provide valuable services, not everyone will need their help. Before you hire a CAPS, consider the following groups who may need to hire them:
- Older adults: This group often wants to age in place without having to move to an assisted living facility or retirement home. A CAPS can help them modify their homes to make them safer and more accessible, allowing them to be independent for as long as possible.
- People with disabilities or chronic conditions: This group may need modifications to their homes to make them safer and more accessible. A CAPS can provide customized solutions that meet their unique needs and preferences.
- Family members or caregivers of older adults or individuals with disabilities: While a family member or caregiver may have the desire to modify their home, they may lack the equipment and skills necessary. A CAPS can provide guidance and support to ensure that the home is safe, comfortable and accessible for their loved one.
Each person is unique and requires different accommodations as they grow old. While some people don’t mind living in an assisted living facility or nursing home, some prefer home care. For those individuals, the help of a CAPS can be invaluable, as they will help modify the home to make it safer and more comfortable for aging adults. These services can also be helpful for people with chronic conditions or disabilities. For all these groups, the goal is to make homes safer, more accessible and more comfortable.
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