In This Issue - Fall 2010
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According to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2008 U.S. Census Bureau data, one in six people live in a multi-generational household– a home with at least two adult generations. What’s more, 6.6 million live in homes with at least three generations, which is up 30 percent from 2000.
The Pew analysis showed that the most common multi-generational scenario, about three-quarters, is an older parent homeowner whose adult child and grandchild have moved in.
That puts these homes at greater risk for home fire death. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), adults 65 and older are more than twice as likely to die in a home fire as the general public and those 85 and older are nearly four times as likely to die. Children under age five are one and a half times as likely to die in a home fire.
The return to bygone era family living is due in large part to economics. From foreclosures to boomerang kids to the high cost of nursing care, families of all ages are living under the same roof again. And with 78 million baby boomers entering the senior demographic, there isn’t likely to be a change anytime soon.
More than 90 percent of all structure fire deaths occur in homes. That, coupled with the higher fire death rate for older adults is why the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition has for years supported and participated in the National Association for Homebuilders (NAHB) 50+ Housing Council. NAHB has a long history of tracking this important housing sector and the builders who serve it. Through the Council, HFSC has been able to provide a wealth of noncommercial information about home fire sprinkler protection to these builders, and also educate them about trade-ups, or the benefits to homebuilders who install sprinklers. “NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council is a critical way for us to reach out directly to the homebuilders who work in this fast-growing market,” says HFSC Communications Manager Peg Paul. “They’re building what often turns out to be their customer’s last home. And now many of these homes also have young children living there. So it’s critical that these homes be built with fire safety in mind.”
HFSC is working hard to provide 50+ and all homebuilders with information about fire sprinkler systems, so they can offer their customers a technology that protects the entire family, no matter how many generations live there.
HFSC became a corporate sponsor of the 50+ Housing Council in 2005, and has continued this active participation since. “This outreach goes hand-in-hand with our participation in the International Builders Show ever year,” Paul adds. “Our 1500 square foot IBS booth gives us a unique opportunity to meet homebuilders and share our free educational material and marketing tools. Both of these NAHB activities have been effective strategies for HFSC to communicate with homebuilders.”
Communication about fire safety is important, especially to homebuilders who are serving the 50+ market. Being able to stay at home as we age is a top priority for most of us. And staying safe is key to that. Most baby boomers choose to age in place, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “The Baby Boomers’ influence on housing choices has been profound, and will have a huge impact on trends in housing for the mature market as that age group continues to move toward retirement,” said Sandra Timmermann, director of the Institute.
Writing in a recent issue of AARP Magazine, the national expert on independent living and aging, Elinor Ginzler, wrote, “Realtors, interior designers, and architects have discovered that consumers are starting to show more interest in features and products that promote successful aging in place. People are also realizing that when homes are designed and constructed with these features, the homes’ value increases.