What to Consider AHEAD of Hiring a CAPS Architect

Make text bigger | Make text smaller

Before a CAPS Certified Architect (or a home designer) is brought on board to do an in-home assessment or is tasked with designing a solution for successful “Aging In Place” allowing you, your parent/s, or your caregiving client to stay in their own home, please have the following information answered in your own mind, and available for your professional:

STAIRS and TRIP HAZARDS –  Do your parents use throw rugs? Did you notice them tripping on them or see them bunching up due to travel over them? How did they do navigating the stairs? Are they using the handrail? Are they also holding onto the other wall for support? Are there other vertical transitions or thresholds between heights or materials that were an issue for them to navigate?


DAYLIGHTING – Is their house light and bright, or dark and dim? Is there too much glare during certain times of day with the sun at certain angles in the sky / through the windows (late afternoon? early morning?) Does it feel warm and inviting, or cold and dank? Does it feel “lived in”, or a bit too “empty”? Are YOU comfortable in their space? Do other visitors appear comfortable? Are there areas that could use blinds, shades, or external overhangs to help with the glare coming into the rooms. TASK LIGHTING – Do they have sufficient lighting (both ambient and task) at the places where they stop and do work such as a desk, cooking and prep areas, reading chairs, etc.? Is the light blocked by the occupant? Does their body cast a shadow on the work space they are trying to use?


FIXTURE OPERATION – How do they manage the use of the faucets and sinks? Do they require you to grip and twist handles, or can you push a lever with your wrist for operation? How about door handles or door knobs? Are there doorknobs that are tough to turn and require a grip and twist? Are there doors that are “tight” or “tough” to open, that seem to require an extra thrust and then they “release” open all at once? GRIP ASSISTANCE – How did they do holding onto a stack of dishes or a handful of silverware? How about their cooking utensils, did they seem to cause discomfort or require extra effort or focus to utilize?


PLUGS and SWITCHES – Did you notice how Mom or Dad’s hands use a standard light switch? Do they flip it up and down with ease and without pain? Do they alter how they use their hand for this task? Do they have trouble reaching down to standard height outlets for cords and plugs?


CLEAR SPACE and MANEUVERABILITY – How did they do moving down the hall, and through / around doors that needed to be opened or closed on the way through them? Are there door swings that are a hindrance to the open floor space in a room that make it tough to move about freely inside the room? Are there door swings that create tough to reach areas in a room when they are open?


ACCESSIBLITY to their THINGS – How did they do getting dishes in and out of the sink, dishwasher, cabinetry? Could they safely and easily get items out of all upper and lower cabinetry in the kitchen, laundry room, garage, etc.? Do shelves come “up” and “down” to meet the user at a comfortable height, or is it an exercise in precarious reaching?

There are many more categories we can’t address all in one list here. These are all areas that a professional designer can help you with. A CAPS Architect (or designer) can assist, along with any other professional that may be helping with care (an occupational therapist, physical therapist, in-home care person – professional or family member), in assessing the home and it’s challenges that are specific to the client. Please CONTACT US. We can help you, your family, and your folks to stay in their own homes with a successful “Aging In Place” design solution to create their “forever home”.


Short List: Questions To Ask When Hiring
1) Are they a licensed Architect, or a “home designer”? Are you CAPS Certified, or other-wise credentialed?

2) Can they provide a few recent (last 2 years) project client references I could contact?

3) What’s their Fee Structure? Hourly Rate(s)? Percentage of Construction Cost? Flat Fee? NTE “Not To Exceed”?

4) What does their Fee include? Is that to the point of Permit submittal level drawings & documents? What’s included in “Full Service”? Can it be done more “A La Carte”?

5) Will they submit drawings for permitting? Interview Contractors with you? Provide Construction Observation?

6) What are “extra costs” or “additional services” you offer & can provide? (Examples:Color & material boards, product & materials specifications, reflected ceiling plans, lighting plans, electrical / power plans, rough-in plans and dimensions, structural engineering, to name a few possibilities).


We hope this quick list of ideas and things to consider helps you prepare to help your CAPS Certified Architect (or home designer) create a win/win TEAM solution, with YOU and YOUR FAMILY as a part of that team and critical to the success of a pro-active project that can keep you in your home longer, add years to your life, and save 1/2 $MILLION$ in your retirement years.  

For More information, contact us at info@EmpoweringTheMatureMind.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *