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Americans’ Love Affair with Their Homes Undimmed in 20 Years, AARP Poll Shows

For Immediate Release
November 16, 2010
AARP Media Relations,, 202-434-2560

Americans’ Love Affair with Their Homes Undimmed in 20 Years, AARP Poll Shows

AARP Unveils User-Friendly Kitchen and Bath Makeovers to Demonstrate How Boomers Can Age Gracefully in the Homes They Love

Washington, DC -- Boomers are happy where they live and like what their communities offer, enjoy being near friends and family, and appreciate access to shopping, social opportunities and healthcare, according to a new poll from AARP released today. Just like previous generations, they plan to stay in their homes and communities. More than eight in ten Boomers and effectively nine in ten people 65+ report they want to stay in their current homes for as long as possible, according to the poll released in conjunction with the unveiling of two national contest-winning room makeovers. The makeovers showcase how two of a home’s key rooms can be updated not only to be fresher and more appealing but also to be easier to use. Today’s poll updates research originally conducted by AARP in 1990 and repeated in 2005. It was conducted by phone July 16-25, 2010.

Most Boomers already have a few basic elements in their homes that can help the homes age gracefully with their occupants, the poll reports. Eight in ten Boomers and almost nine in ten Americans over 65 have homes with two of the key elements of comfortable living at any age or ability. Eighty-two percent have a full bath on the main level of their home and 81% have a bedroom or a room on the main floor that could become a bedroom if they were injured or wanted to downsize from multi-floor living.

“Far too often a person has to break a leg or contract a serious illness to discover that the home they love could restrict their comfortable lifestyle,” said Elinor Ginzler, AARP Senior Vice President for Livable Communities. “A few tweaks to key rooms and entrances when boomers and empty nesters are already remodeling can make a standard home more user-friendly for anyone at any age or ability.”

To prove that point, AARP launched its “Recession Remodel” room makeover contest last year intending to show that even in a recession, bathrooms and kitchens can be updated not only to be more attractive but also to make the home more comfortable and efficient now and in the future. The final makeovers of the winning rooms -- a farm house kitchen outside Charlotte, North Carolina and a Snohomish, Washington bath – are being revealed today with before and after photos and videos at Both makeovers employed universal design, a design approach that assures a room or home is easily used by anyone of any age or ability.

The Makeovers
Not too long ago, North Carolina winner Jamie Hammill’s mom Judy moved back to the family farmhouse in Richfield, NC about an hour outside of Charlotte. But the pleasant old-fashioned farmhouse kitchen was outdated and hard to use. AARP’s total makeover of the winner’s kitchen unveiled today expanded and brightened the room, added an open floor plan, extensive cabinet and counter space, multi-level work and eating space, and easy to reach appliances. Now the beautiful new kitchen is as comfortable and efficient as it is pretty.

On weekends, Washington state contest winner Mary Waggoner cares for her 84 and 83 year-old parents. But her cramped bathroom didn’t fit her mother’s wheel chair and the traditional shower/tub combination posed a safety hazard for her father. The award winning renovation by AARP revealed today removed these barriers and introduced soft colors, whimsical inlaid tile artwork, a walk-in shower, a sink counter that’s comfortable either seated or standing, a heated non-slip floor, glare free lighting, and enough automation to delight a child and serve an adult of any age or ability.

The Designers and Builders
AARP renovated the winning kitchen and bath with generous volunteer help from local designers and contractors and the assistance of building and appliance suppliers and manufacturers and local chapters of The American Society of Interior Designers and the National Association of Homebuilders’ Remodelers Council in both locations. For their design and volunteered services the Seattle design and construction team, Penates Design, IDI, llc and Chermak Construction, Inc., were named national 2010 Dream Home Award Winners for Community Service.
Jennifer Thompson of Vestra Interior Design in Burlington was the North Carolina team lead with the help of designers of Amy Baucom and Calvin Hefner. J.W. Flair of Flair & Sons, Inc. was the general contractor. Cynthia Leibrock, a nationally known universal designer helped shape the overall project.

“We could never have taken on these projects without the local teams outstanding work and the generous support from all the companies involved,” said Ginzler. “These makeovers demonstrate what homeowners can do when they finally get around to remodeling. With a little extra thought and design help, their new room can not only be more comfortable and reflect their style, it can make them ready for whatever surprises life may bring.”

In addition to the design and construction teams, support for the Recession Remodel in North Carolina came from Apple Blossom Insulators, Artisan Shutter, Bosch, Harkey Tile and Stone LLC, KitchenAid, Kohler, Liberty Hardware, Running Creek Custom Cabinets, Stiebel Eltron, Tupperware Brands, and Web-Don.

In Washington, assistance also was provided by AAA Kartak Glass & Closet, Inc, Alexander Lighting, AllPoints Heating & Fireplace, Ambiente European Tile Design, American Olean, Avonite Surfaces, Burnham Insulation & Shelving, Decorative Materials International Ltd, Designtex, Designs by Mara, Double K Plumbing, Dreamscape Lighting Mfg, Inc., Dunn Lumber, Fine Line Pacific, Inc, Ginger, Green Dog Enterprises, Inc., Hansgrohe, Honey Bucket, Interior Trends, Juno Lighting Group, Liberty Hardware, Lutron Electronics, Inc, Master Source, Ponte Giulio USA, Radiant Plus, Robert Allen, Sound Design Cabinetry, Inc., Tenhulzen Painting, The Patch Company, LLC, TOTO USA, LLC, and Wirecraft.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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