Fifty remodelers at the Seniors Housing Symposium in Orlando, Fla., became the first to earn the CAPS -- Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist -- designation from the NAHB Remodelors Council. The program equips remodelers with the skills to identify and meet the remodeling needs of an aging population.

The two to three day training is "exercise intensive," says Houston remodeler Dan Bawden, chair of the CAPS working group. In the first day of training on "Working with Older Adults," the instructors "may put you in a wheelchair and let you navigate through an obstacle course," Bawden says, in order to "give some real-life sensitivity to what folks we're doing this work for have to deal with.

"At the beginning, it's going to be like CGR was, in that nobody's going to know what the heck it is," Bawden says. "Unlike CGR, we have a huge partner in this, ... the AARP." The non-profit organization for the 50-and-over crowd plans to market the program to its 35 million members once it has enough designees. "They don't want to advertise the program and then have a bunch of people call and say they can't find any of these people because it's too soon," Bawden says. "We figure it might be a year or two before we really have this out."

In the meantime, the Remodelors Council is looking for potential teachers to bring the training to their local chapters. Anyone interested in earning the designation or becoming an instructor should call (800) 368-5242.