When discussing innovation, it is common to think of high-tech solutions.
HomesRenewed, while strongly supporting deployment of technology in the home
and relying on a new app, drives significant innovations that are not about technology.

Following are descriptions of 10 HomesRenewed fostered innovations:

1. No other program targets middle income Americans with incentives to update their home to reduce health costs throughout the aging process.

Upper income Americans have sufficient resources to cover the costs of aging and very low-income Americans, the ‘dual eligibles’ (over 65, eligible for medicare and poor, eligible for medicaid) have Medicaid as a long-term care safety net. Non-profit programs mainly focus on the “most vulnerable” who have few resources of any kind. Our initial target is upper middle-income Americans who have between $100K and $1 Million in liquid assets, often largely in pre-tax retirement savings. This upper middle-income sector, 10.1 million citizens, is underserved by policy or programming to help them age well.

This group, sometimes referred to as the mass affluent, is larger than the duals. Their resources make them capable of funding their own home preparations if properly incentivized. HomesRenewed sees targeting this group as an innovation that can “bend the cost curve” of aging for families as well as the healthcare system. (See chart below)

2. HomesRenewed brings new, tested, messaging techniques to the push for home updates. These innovations, (i) no age or disability restrictions and (ii)cost saving, positive messaging based on research findings are significant and important.

Frameworks Institute studies about attitudes concerning aging find that most consumers of all ages think they have little control of or capability to alter their aging experience. The result is that most people shun the topic of aging altogether. The HomesRenewed program bypasses this situation by providing rebates or tax credits regardless of the age or medical condition of the homeowner. In contrast, most current programs limit financing or incentives to those over 65 or in poor health. The significance of this innovation is that the program can be marketed as a cost savings program, rather than an aging or disability targeted entitlement.

HomesRenewed incentives are about modernizing our housing stock, while most information about home updates for aging in place are couched in terms of preserving independence, avoiding aging related disability or frailty and burdensomeness on families. Frameworks found people avoid these topics and resist information associated with them.

3. HomesRenewed works with construction, homecare, long term care, technology and healthcare industries, as well as the aging and policy worlds and consumers. This creates an innovative coalition to fund our efforts, to provide new network opportunities and to influence policy and policymakers.

Bringing this broad spectrum of stakeholders to support home updates brings an unprecedented range of perspectives and power to our effort.

4. HomesRenewed’s program is an innovative adaptation of other incentive programs that have been used to change consumer behavior. Governmental incentives and/or rebates have created behavior change in other industries: energy (hybrid cars, solar, weatherization, energy star), environmental (e.g., drought-resistant landscape) and housing types (e.g. multi-family affordable housing, accessory dwelling units {ADU’s}).

The private insurance industry has offered incentives to encourage behavior changes to reduce their risk: discounts to gyms from health insurance policies, discounts on health premiums for not smoking, discounts on car insurance premiums for good drivers, discounts on homeowner’s insurance premiums for burglar alarms. HomesRenewed will build on these successful behavior change strategies, applying their principles to the need for home updates.

5. Use of these pre-tax retirement savings for an incentive and to make long lasting capital improvements are innovations. Pre-tax savings (eg. 401k, IRA) are already earmarked for retirement so they are still used for their originally intended purpose However, they are shifted from liquid savings to a capital improvement. Because capital improvements are not used up, as is money spent on a service, the value persists as a housing infrastructure update for the purchasing resident and all future residents.

6. HomesRenewed will innovate by applying the results of groundbreaking Johns Hopkins research to a different population at a different point in their lives and health.

The CAPABLE study, conducted by the Johns Hopkin School of Nursing, applied 3-part interventions to Medicaid eligible, very sick people in Baltimore that included home improvements. The program demonstrated a significant return on investment in medical cost savings. This is in contrast to similar interventions by visiting nurses and Occupational Therapists where no updates were made to the clients’ homes which yielded far more limited and short-term impact.

HomesRenewed is extending the CAPABLE findings to the proactive preparation of homes for non poor residents who may not have health problems. Though the timeframe for results may be much longer, using the home modification intervention will yield significant savings by adding the potential for prevention.

Falls are known to be devastating to the injured party in physical, social and economic terms as well as very expensive for the health system. By encouraging the installation of home updates proactively falls will be prevented. In addition a prepared home means that the resident can return to their own home more quickly from acute, crisis or elective medical situations reducing residential rehabilitation costs as well as improving recovery outcomes because people recover in the security and comfort of their own home where well being is higher.

8. The network effect refers to the increased value of a technology as the number of users increases. HomesRenewed innovates by extending this thinking to the delivery of services in the community. More homes where people are aging in place means a more productive delivery of services. This will result in innovation and efficiencies that will improve businesses and services as well as reducing costs to consumers.

7. The use of a smartphone app to certify properly installed products is an innovation combining the use of promo codes for online purchases and auto body damage estimate apps. (See Purple Tag)

9. HomesRenewed adapts the path air bags and smoke detectors followed from invention to requirement. Both started as interesting technologies, progressed through a stage of private incentive by insurers and became required.

These results were not planned stages. By working simultaneously with private industry, grassroots, local and state constituencies and at the federal level we expect to speed the recognition of home update value pushing toward the adoption of regulations and government funding.
Employing this path proactively is an innovative strategy.

10. A large national retailer is rolling out a new program to sell technologies for aging accompanied by contact information for home modification contractors when found appropriate during home assessments. This program is based on market lead generation. There is no financial incentive or motivation. HomesRenewed drives incentives to change consumer behavior.