Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Who Knew That Typing Would Be This Important?"

If we go back in time a decade or two, not that many of us probably considered that we would ever need to be that good at typing. We might have to type an occasional note or label, but we largely wrote longhand, dictated, spoke, or had people that we employed or services that we used to type documents for us. 

Thinking back to high school, if a typing class was offered as an elective there always seemed to be something better to take. Why would we need to know how to type except for something that we wanted to prepare ourselves because of the sensitive nature of it?

But, this is now. Typing is such a part of our everyday lives - regardless of whether we are working with a client, communicating with someone from our office, or talking with a friend or relative.

When we are sitting in someone's living room or at their kitchen table with them, we are asking questions and taking notes (typically with a pencil or pen) before we go back to our office and prepare a proposal or scope of services to present to them - in a typed format.

It's not just proposals that we type. We conduct assessments and evaluations - often with the aid of a checklist that we have prepared in advance (that we typed to get it into that format) and then we present a narrative of our findings by typing them for our clients and strategic partners.

When we meet people that we determine might be useful for our business - including potential clients or strategic partners, we either exchange business cards with them or jot down their contact information so that we can reach out to them again in the future. Then we take those cards or notes and type that information into our database - unless we have someone that does it for us. Many of us actually do this for ourselves, however.

There are so many ways that we need and want to communicate with people that involve using the computer to prepare our message. Thank you notes, confirmation memos, letters or understanding, proposals, agreements, invoices, and more are what we prepare as part of our business. It's really hard to imagine how we might compete in the business world without having the ability to type - if we had to prepare everything by actually writing it on paper with a pen.

It's not just our computers - both desktop and laptop or notebook (both terms are used to refer to a portable computer) - but tablets and smartphones also. Think of the number of times throughout the workweek when we send emails or text someone - all by using a keypad of some sort, and all by typing.

Some of us have websites that we update and maintain, all by typing relevant updates and changes. Then, there is social media. To post anything on any site requires that it be typed. There is no other way to enter it. Even uploading a photo into a text, email, or social site requires some amount of typing.

Knowing how to type - regardless of how well or how fast we do it and whether we touch type, hunt and peck, or use just one or two fingers or thumbs - is how we communicate today in a very large sense. Everyone types. No longer is it considered anything special to be able to type.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Email Address Or Postage Stamp - They Both Count"

When we choose to communicate in writing with strategic partners, business acquaintances we have just met, clients we are working with, or potential clients we are interested in serving, we essentially have two choices: a written letter or card and an email.

It could be our personal preference as to which one is used, it could be the preference of the person to whom we are sending it, it could be the expediency of it and how quickly we need it to get there, or it could have something to do with the generation in which we went to school.

Regardless, there is one huge similarity that applies to both: misspell the address line in an email and nothing happens or omit the stamp or use an insufficient amount on what is being mailed and similarly nothing happens.

Take the email address, It is so important to get it right, but so much can happen to make it wrong. Use a comma before the extension (com, net, org, etc.) and it just sits there in cyberspace with no chance of ever being delivered. There is no address that uses a comma before the domain extension.

Forget to use the at sign ("@"). Just type the recipient's name or their domain name without properly using their name (actual or email name) and domain name with the at sign in between.

If the address is a name with repeating consonants or one with numbers, transpose a number or leave off one of the letters in a pair and see what happens - not much.

Get the extension wrong as in using .com when it's really .net, and who knows where the message will be sent? Maybe that address actually exists and we'll never know that it went to the wrong person or place.

All that is before we ever get to the subject line - another place we can face challenges due the many words and phrases we can use that are practically guaranteed to get it flagged as spam by various email filters - or the message itself.

Turning to the message written on paper and mailed with a stamp, there are similar issues that we might encounter. Regardless of what message goes on the piece of paper or notecard that is placed inside the envelope, or if just a postcard is used by itself, it doesn't get to its intended recipient without that little piece of paper known as a stamp attached to it.

Of course the proper and complete address certainly helps, but that stamp has to be there.

Many years ago, the post office would merely collect from the recipient the required or deficient postage. It was called "postage due." Now the mail is simply returned to the sender and never delivered where it was intended to go.


It's really amazing the power that that little piece of paper has - a square or sometimes rectangular object with adhesive on the back that no longer requires licking it to get it to stick.

Sometimes there is a monetary amount printed on the face of the stamp - from a few cents to several dollars, depending on what is required for what is being mailed and how it is sent. Over the years, the amount needed for each use has increased dramatically except for a "once-in-a-lifetime" rollback that occurred earlier this year. No one ever recalls a reduction in stamp prices prior to this.

It turns out the stamp is pretty important - as is the address on the envelop or the one on the email message.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Consumer Input Is Valuable - To A Point"

As we approach aging-in-place solutions for our potential clients, the best place to begin is with the assessment. This can take on a few different forms from personal observations, checklists, voluntary input from the consumers themselves as to what they perceive as a need, and our asking questions of them to determine what seems to be the issue.

Hearing what the consumer would like to have done is important and valuable - when they have the ability to express their needs. The issue is that they may not know the extent of what they are requesting, not realize how to address an issue they notice, or not understand that there really is anything that needs to be addressed. That's fine, we do. They may only perceive that their home is somewhat difficult for them to use without understanding why that is or that it doesn't have to remain that way.

That's the real caution of using consumer input. It OK to let them express their concerns and tell us what isn't working in their home to their satisfaction, what aids and helps in their home they feel would be beneficial, current areas of their home that are presenting issues for them, and things they would like to have done that they are aware of or just feel they need. Then we can make our assessment and recommendations accordingly.

We can give them a checklist and have them go through their home before we meet with them, but isn't that giving them too much authority in the design of their renovations? If they are quite aware of what needs to be done and how some changes that they are suggesting will enhance their lifestyle, they wouldn't need a checklist to document and express it - they would just tell or show us what it needed. If they don't know what they are supposed to be looking for or how to interpret what they are observing, how is a checklist going to help? Besides, they may feel that they have observed all that needs to be done before we arrive and be less inclined to let us help them do a more complete assessment.

None of us go to the dentist or the doctor (or mechanic) with a complaint and then tell them what is causing it (definitively although we might have an idea) and how to treat or alleviate it. We wouldn't really need to go if we had the ability to perform a complete and accurate diagnosis and then treat it. Sometimes we are capable of this and save ourselves the time and expense of going, but when we feel the need to visit the professional we expect them to tell us what is going on and not the other way. In fact, they may resent us trying to do their job.

Depending on the visual ability of our clients to actually see and perceive the issues that might be present, their mobility in being able to get around in their space and show us what is going on, and cognitive challenges that might limit and understanding of what is occurring, asking our clients for their help in explaining or interpreting issues they are facing in their home may give us a very complete idea of what they are facing or how we might want to approach them. This is where we will need to do our own assessment and maybe watch them navigate their space to observe what is occurring.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"We Need To Be Creative And Effective But Not Revolutionary"

Aging-in-place solutions are very much in demand - fortunately for us since we are so involved in creating and implementing them - but some of what passes for good design seems to be missing the mark for effectiveness.

Design just for the sake of design is not what we are all about. There's nothing wrong or inappropriate about having the latest styles, color, finishes, or fabrics in a design - or in someone redesigning or remodeling frequently. It's just that for aging-in-place solutions, where we typically are working with needs-specific clients, the function of the design is more important than the way it looks. It's not that aesthetics are unimportant. It's that the design needs to work first and foremost. Then it can look as attractive, colorful, and modern as it can to still do the job intended or required - and within the budget.

Whether we are working with people who have apparent physical and mobility needs or just those brought on by advancing years - or no admitted mobility or sensory concerns at all - we can help them get the enjoyment from their homes they need. We can create solutions to satisfy what they are looking for and help to make their homes and living spaces more comfortable, enjoyable, safer, and maneuverable.

This just requires good design elements and does not require anything revolutionary or out-of-the-box to be effective. Creativity is fine, but likely there are budgetary concerns (the client is paying directly or insurance proceeds or something similar is being used) that keep the project somewhat in check. While more severe modifications might be desired by us, we need to remember that the design is being done for the client and not for any third-party review or appreciation.

The key to good design is to assess what the space utilization needs are currently for the occupants of the home, determine what they can't do currently that they would like to do or need to do in the space, create a useful solution for them, and then present it with a couple of alternatives that allow for incorporation of their individual tastes within the budget parameters agreed to at the outset.

It's very important to remember that our role and purposes, as designers, contractors, or consultants, is to offer and create effective solutions for our clients and not to do something to please ourselves. They don't have to be potentially award-winning or photo-essay-worthy creations to serve the needs of our clients and be successful.

Whether we would do a similar treatment in our own homes is not the point because we likely have different physical needs and requirements from our clients, a different budget, different likes in terms of colors and finishes, and a different ability to rely on the outcome. Therefore, the design needs to be effective for our clients and not for us. As long as we devote our top energies and best work to creating the solution, we should be happy with the results.

Keeping the needs and abilities of our clients in focus as we approach their renovation will keep us on track toward creating an effective solution for them that is just for them. It may be comparable to something we already completed for other clients with similar needs, or it may be quite different. Each situation is going to be unique even though on there may be parts of it that align with other projects.

We need to size up the challenge in front of us with each client and then approach it as creatively as we can to provide an effective solution in a timely manner that respects their budget and gives them the best solution possible - for what we have identified as their needs and requirements.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Friday, August 26, 2016

"There's No Place Like Home"

It's hard to say which sounds best - going home, being home, staying home, or coming home? All are good. For this reason, aging-in-place - the aspect of helping people remain in their homes for as long as they desire (indefinitely actually) - is having amazing appeal and interest. For those of us who participate in helping people achieve this objective, it is very rewarding.

After being away from home for a day (at the office, attending a seminar or meeting, or being out-of-town), or traveling for a few days, a week, or longer, the thoughts of both going home when boarding the plane or getting in the car for the journey home (no matter how many miles need to be traveled) and then coming home from the airport or pulling into the driveway are both very comforting.

There is no place like home. It's that simple. This is one of life's basic truths.

Many people make careers of selling homes, and people love shopping for and buying homes. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous interest and need - and growing - for people to remodel, renovate, and reconfigure the homes they already have to keep abreast of or match their changing lifestyles or needs over time. While we may begin with the actual structures - houses - our main business is creating safe, attractive, comfortable, convenient, accessible, visitable, and maneuverable homes for the people who live in them.

The homes we live in ourselves and those we help others create and live in are our sanctuaries - our retreats. Whenever we leave the comforts of home - where we are free to be ourselves whether we are dressed up or wearing our pajamas and whether or not our hair is combed - and venture out into the world, we encounter challenges in one form or another. We might just be going for a walk, bike, ride, or jog around the block before returning home. We might be going shopping or to the park to play tennis. We might be going to the office. Maybe we are going out for a sandwich or to have dinner. Regardless, there are many perils that we encounter when we are away from home.

Sometimes our homes present challenges and difficulties to us as well - because of clutter, organization, too much stuff accumulation, space allocation, or carelessness. Accidents, burns, and falls do happen in the home - unfortunately. We need to do all we can in our own homes and with our clients to minimize those risks.

"Home" is a beautiful word. Many people are familiar with the needlepoint works of "Home Sweet Home" or "There's No Place Like Home" and have them displayed on their walls. Home means security, comfort, a place to return to after we have been in the outside world (subjected to all the world has to throw at us), a nurturing place, a private place, and so much more. It's good to be home again after any absence from it (even a few hours), and it's good to be in the business of creating sound living environments for people.

There's no reason for people to give up the homes they have now and search for something else when we can help make those homes even more comfortable and well-suited for them.
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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"We Never Know Who Might Be Looking At Us ..."


For most of us, our image and personal brand is everything - not image in the sense of creating a persona that isn't genuine but in terms of demonstrating a consistency and continuity to the marketplace.

In working with seniors and others that require and need our aging-in-places solutions, it's important that they believe in and trust us - that we are interested in helping them and that we really can provide what they seek.

We devote years to acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to help our clientele, yet our reputation can be gone very quickly. It only takes a few missteps to ruin a lifetime of good works.

We spend a lot of time and money on advertising, blogging, website design, search engine optimization, and generating leads and referrals, yet all of this can be seriously derailed through thoughtless actions that have nothing to do with out ability to provide aging-in-places solutions or our knowledge of how to create them.

Take for instance driving on the freeway – in our company’s branded vehicle (car, truck, or van). Every time we cut someone off, shake our fist, yell at someone (even if they can’t hear us), blow our horn out of disgust or frustration, weave in and out of traffic, or seriously exceed the speed limit, it’s not just us doing it – it’s our company. We never know who might be a witness to our reckless or thoughtless behavior. It could be a colleague, a referring professional, or a potential client. There's no way to tell except by avoiding such behavior in the first place.

In town, if we run through a red light (or stretch the yellow), roll through a stop sign, or beat someone out of a parking spot, people see that as our company doing this because that’s the name they see on our vehicle - or the name they read on our company shirt that we are wearing.

Social media has greatly complicated our ability to maintain a solid and clean image because so much is captured as a photo image and posted that we may not have even been aware of. It's one thing for us to post activities on various social sites. It's quite another for someone to tag or include us in a photo that we were unaware was being taken or that we did not know included us.

The safest practice is to always be aware of our surroundings - especially when we see someone pointing a phone, tablet, or camera in our general direction. we can't always see this happening, so our next best line of defense is to always be on our best behavior in public. we never know who is watching or who may eventually see what we are doing.

We need to be mindful that little acts that we may not pay that much attention to can make a big difference to others who see or hear about us do them. It only takes one or two really stupid acts to blow a whole lot of positive advertising and intentional branding.


Our businesses are built on integrity, trust, and instilling confidence in our clients and consumers. Let's be extremely mindful of that each time we are out in public where anyone might see us or note our actions.

We truly never know who might be watching us.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Being Available Is The Best Advice For Meeting People"

The key to making sales, and in our case being able to provide aging-in-place solutions that allow people to remain safely in their homes over time, is having a sufficient number of interested people that we can talk with about what we offer. Of course, one of the ways - arguably the oldest and the default way - to attract new customers is through advertising (traditional print advertising found in newspapers, magazines, specialty publications, and now online).

Another way – and the most productive and dependable for us – is self-generation through direct contact and strategic referrals. This requires work, and may take a while before we see a return so we may need some advertising or other types of activities in conjunction with this. By the way, word or mouth (WOM) is also a form of advertising and marketing, so we should never overlook the potential of this.

The premise of self-generation is that we, as aging-in-place professionals (or anyone we have representing us), are responsible for producing new leads from which to make the sales that we need in order to continue helping people and remaining in business. In an ideal sense, we would produce all of our own leads and not rely on any additional advertising or promotion. It would be just what we created, along with referrals and what our strategic relationships brought to us.


So if self-generation is to occur, where does it begin? We should start with the obvious – people we know, regardless of how well or for how long we have known them. This includes friends, family, acquaintances, former clients and customers, referrals, and professional contacts.

Then we expand to those people you haven’t yet met – strangers. For most people, this has the most potential.

So, how do we meet strangers? By being available.

People that we don't know that we can help - or ones who can lead us or recommend us to people we can help - are around us constantly. We just need to be aware of it and ready to meet and engage people. It could be standing in line to order the morning coffee or lunch, waiting for a flight at the airport, shopping anywhere (but especially at the grocery store, home improvement center, or furnishings store), taking public transit, or just being out and about where will encounter people that we can engage in conversation. From that we can meet people whom we can help.

If we are willing to meet people and willing to have a conversation with them, we definitely will meet new people. From that, we will learn of people who need remodeling or assessment services - because they already had been considering them or because they have a specific need they haven't yet addressed.

Remember the goal of meeting people is not to make an immediate sale. Therefore, we don't need to be aggressive as if the future of our entire business depends on meeting and making a sale to the next person we encounter. It’s the foundation of creating a relationship that can build into a sale or a referral. It's a process, but this is a great way to be responsible for producing the leads that will turn into people that we can help with our services.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Leaving Something Of Ourselves Behind - Because It Truly Makes A Difference"

Many contractors already do this, but for those who aren't incorporating this strategy into their job scope, consider how we can impart a tremendous measure of goodwill and serve our affected clientele at the same time by providing an unexpected additional value to our clients.

Here, we're talking about leaving something behind - as part of the completed job - that was not ordered, expected, or directly paid for. It can be a complete gift or covered as part of the overhead in the job.

The little extra that is provided can be the same or essentially the same item or feature for each client - offered as a type of signature statement we provide because we feel that it is a necessary item for people to have - or it can be done as an extended part of the project that was not specifically requested but done as a finishing touch.

This accomplishes a couple of things: first, it provides a more complete finished project for our clients and second, and it goes a long way in dispelling the notion that contractors are just focused on making money from the client. It should help with potential repeat business or referrals also.

So, what types of extra items are we talking about?

Let's say we are redoing a stairway for a home that already has one. We design it according to the building code, pick the colors that the client likes, and complete it. When the client sees the completed job, it will have the addition of a railing along the wall even though the building code may not require it because we know that this is a more complete look and a  safer one than just putting the railing along the outside.

How about the opportunity of making a statement - and really impacting the usefulness of a home for any age group - by including an entry station? This is a place where we can include a signature element that is exactly or essentially the same on each project. We may choose an actual shelf that we attach to the building near the front or side entrance of the home. It can be a bench that we create and locate near the entrance - natural wood or painted a signature color. It can even have storage inside or beneath it. We can also get a piece of unfinished furniture such as a small cabinet or table and seal it with exterior paint.

Items like an entry station are so noticeable, easy to do, inexpensive to add, and so powerful because of their usefulness that they become an instant focal and memory point for the client to enjoy and to remember how we helped them.

There are many other places in the home where we can add a little touch or upgrade that was not expected but so helpful to the client's overall enjoyment and use of their home. Anything that adds to their overall safety, comfort, or convenience in their home is something that can be considered for this little add-on gift or inclusion.

If this is something we already are doing, keep it up. If not, consider what can be done to make a statement and lasting impact to the overall remodeling project. This applies to any type of remodeling but is especially helpful in aging-in-place renovations because of the additional value and safety it creates.

We can know when the job is finished that we gave our clients a little something extra that will contribute to their overall enjoyment of their home.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Monday, August 22, 2016

"Sometimes Just Covering Something Up Is The Best Policy"

Cover-ups can get us into trouble - especially when we are covering up a mistake or a lie. How many times have the cover-ups for an illicit act been far worse than the original transgression itself? Think Richard Nixon, for example.

Now, there are cover-ups and there are cover-ups. Mistakes happen. That's why they invented paint (one of the reasons) because it covers up blemishes, marks, and other imperfections on a surface - not to hide them altogether but to make them blend in more.

We wear long pants or long-sleeve shirts to cover-up a bandage from a cut or a bruise when we don't want it to show. We sometimes wear a hat or scarf to cover our hair when we're having a "bad-hair-day."

That's why they created white-out (for those unfamiliar with this product, it's a type of paint that covers type, pen marks, and other unwanted material on a document).

One of the reasons there are floor-to-ceiling drapes and curtains - in addition to creating a fabulous look and anchoring the space - is so that the blank wall space over and to the sides of a smaller window can be covered up or camouflaged.

Think of all of the older (1940s and 1950s vintage, for instance) homes with beautiful hardwood floors that were simply covered in carpeting when that became popular and hardwood was no longer as desirable. Had the hardwood flooring been removed, there would not be so many wonderful discoveries of beautiful flooring hidden and relatively well preserved underneath years of being covered over by carpeting. It wasn't necessary to remove the hardwood before putting down the carpeting, and now so many owners are glad that this wasn't the case as they are in the process of restoring these beautiful floors.

The same is true for bathroom and kitchen areas where linoleum was put down over hardwood.

If there is a brick or stone (actual or veneer) accent wall or fireplace in a room that is no longer desired - or it doesn't fit in with the current remodeling or decor plans - it's not necessary to undertake the cost and mess of demolishing it before going ahead. Simply frame it out and cover it up. Sure the floor space will be reduced a little, but if that current owner or a future owner ever wants to return to the feature that is already built-in, they can by simply removing the cover-up facade.

When there is a knock-down or popcorn ceiling texture that is no longer desired - because it appears dated, doesn't appeal to the current owners, or there is a concern about the possible presence of asbestos - it doesn't have to be removed. A drop ceiling below it or a plank ceiling applied right over it with cover it up just fine and great a great new look.

When the budget won't allow for a full kitchen makeover, sometimes the cabinet doors can just be painted or refaced, using the existing boxes as they are. This is another type of cover-up that is used quite well.

For concrete floors, laminate, tile, or other products can go right over the top and create a fresh, modern look. It may be a little tricky to remove it later on, but it can be done.

The point is that remodeling can utilize a variety of cover-ups to accomplish our purposes rather than demolition first before the new construction. Just be aware of the possibilities and flexibility.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Happy Senior Citizens Day!"

Today, and every August 21st, since being declared so by then President Ronald Reagan, is National Senior Citizens Day. It's worth celebrating and noting, although there probably aren't any parades or widespread community celebrations marking the date.

Still, it's nice to get the recognition that a lifelong pursuit has netted. It's not something we can join, like an organization - and the membership requirements are quite stringent. One must be at least (pick an age) 50, 55, 60. 62, 65, or older - depending on who you ask. It definitely is not for the under 50 group.

So, we are not celebrating any particular achievement in sports, science, technology, business, parenting, education, or anything else other than living a sufficient number of years to be considered "senior." Sure, those other achievements may definitely have contributed to getting this far in life. Attaining senior status is just not based on on it is all.

As we sit here today and reflect on the day, there are many ways we can observe it. We can do nothing special. We can spend time with the kids or grandkids, if there are any. We can spend time alone just enjoying the day. We can go for a walk or bike ride. We can swim or play golf or tennis. We can go to a movie or dinner.

One thing is certain, we will go on being senior citizens with or without this day of recognition. It's just nice that it was added to the calendar with the scores of other designations, celebrations, observances, and commonly-recognized holidays.

To help us enjoy the day - and to help insure that we are still here to observe the next anniversary of this day - we need to take a serious look around us for impending perils in our home environment. There are so many innocent looking items that are just waiting to attack us and inflict unnecessary pain and injury.

One of the things that we do as aging-in-place professionals is to evaluate the living space to observe and note conditions that may present potential hazards because of how they may entrap our movement of affect our mobility. There could be too much stuff (important stuff, but too much) on the floor, stairs, counters, or furniture, or too many implements (brooms, vacuums, dustpans, wastebaskets) stacked about the room, or clothes on their way to or from the laundry that are taking up floor or seating space or hiding other things beneath them.

There could be groceries, pet food, cleaning supplies, parts, tools, or packages that haven't been opened yet that are resting here and there and taking up space. Sometimes they are stacked precariously atop each other.

We don't have to look very far, and we generally don't have to leave our own homes, to find items that need to be stored better than they are or spaces that need to be cleared of what is on them. Of course, there's no harm in discarding, donating, or selling items (depending on their condition, usefulness, and personal preference) that are no longer needed. Keeping unnecessary items and trying to find places for them is generally done at the expense of finding places for items that really do need to be stored and retained.

These are things tat can be irrespective of making improvements to our homes, and they deserve to be done on a continuous basis.

Happy Senior Citizens Day - and many more!!

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.