Contrary to popular belief, most older Americans spend their final years at home, not in nursing homes. Bill Wasch thinks he knows a market when he sees one, and he sees one in adapting and renovating housing for senior citizens and the disabled.
His book, Home Planning For Your Later Years, is a guide targeted to that demographic. The company in which he's a partner -- Senior Serve -- specializes in adapting and renovating homes for the elderly, the disabled, and those who are farsighted enough to make changes in their homes that will enable them to live safely and comfortably in the years ahead.
Senior Serve consists of three people: Wasch, who handles administrative and marketing functions, Bruce Lawler, his business partner, who works in the field, and a helper. So far the two-year-old company has worked mainly with disabled people, building ramps, widening doorways, and installing grab bars and other products intended to make the home safer and more convenient. According to Wasch, the kitchen and bathroom are the most hazardous areas for disabled and elderly people.
Efforts to interest other remodelers in renovating for the elderly and disabled have mostly fallen on deaf ears. "It's a tough sell," Wasch says. "I just don't think there is enough of a financial incentive out there for remodelers."
Last year Senior Serve generated $125,000 in sales, with kitchen and bath adaptations and remodels as its big ticket items. But the future promises better things for those who are skilled in adapting homes to disabilities.
"Peter Drucker says the biggest issue in the developed countries is aging," Wasch says. "And with aging comes disability. So why not be smart about it and remodel your house now?"