Monday, April 18, 2016

"Delivering The Straight Talk That People Want, Need & Deserve To Hear"

The election campaign is in full swing at all levels - local as well as national. As a result, we are so accustomed to hearing politicians tell us what they think we want to hear. This doesn't make it right, just typical.

Because of the amount of commercial, talk radio, and cable TV shows that are showcasing candidates and their opinions, we hear a lot of their talking points and ways that they are trying to appeal to as many audiences as possible. In doing so, their positions often conflict with earlier statements. It's hard to keep adjusting an argument to please the people one is talking with at the moment rather than having a consistent message or an objective one.

As aging-in-place professionals we can learn from watching all of the politcal talk that dominating the airwaves and print media. Our takeaway is that people need to be able to trust what they are hearing and to believe that someone really is looking out for their best interests. This is precisely what we do.

When we meet someone and enter their home to evaluate what is going on and then to suggest some improvements and renovations that we would make or have done to eliminate or help solve some of their functional issues, we aren't interested in just telling them what we think they want to hear or what sounds nice - even if it's not needed by their specific situation. We don't need to go out of our way to upset them or suggest improvements that are going to be unduly disruptive or even unnecesary for them. Still, we have an obligation to them to describe what we see as the main issues and the best ways to rectify them.

We have an intense interest in helping people stay in their homes as long as they can do it safely. Their well-being is a major concern. Thus, our evaluations, observations, and assessments will focus on unsafe practices we see or areas of the home that are not serving them well. Eliminating unsafe issues in their home will be a top priority in addition to providing ideas for accommodating mobility and other needs they have. 

Even when people may be in denial about needing to address certain aspects of their home or lifestyle as being issues for them, we don't need to provide a political response that is designed to win them over. We should provide the true picture of what we see and an honest assessment of what needs to be done to remedy it.

People will respect a straightforward response - especially if it is tempered with a budget consciousness that doesn't suggest spending money to go beyond what is really required to do the job. Obviously, there are better grades of finishes that can be used, but the essential quality of materials used in the job should not be negotiated or compromised. This is part of the straight-talk package we are committed to providing to our clients - regardless of the extent of any physical limitations or impairments they may have.

People will respect us for describing what needs to be done and the best way to accomplish it. We might offer a couple of alternatives at different price points, but we won't suggest that a solution is appropriate when we know that it isn't just because it sounds nice or we think that is what our client is looking to hear us say.

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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.