Sunday, July 10, 2016

"People Age In Vastly Different Ways, So Our Approaches Need to be Varied Also"

As aging-in-place professionals, there are many similar solutions that we like to recommend that apply to several different situations and types of homes. Nevertheless, those similarities are not because these are the only choices or that this is all we want to recommend.

On the contrary, solutions can be, and often are, as varied and as individually designed as the people we are assisting.

On the one hand, using universal design applications whenever and wherever we can helps to facilitates the widest possible usage and accommodation regardless of individual needs. Still, specific needs require an individual approach that is not the same from home-to-home, situation-to-situation, or individual-to-individual.

Some people have a life-long need for home modifications and accommodations, having been born with a condition that limits or restricts their mobility, their sight or other sensory organs, or otherwise makes it more difficult for them to function in a way that other people do. They need attention from the earliest time in their lives and not later in life.

At various stages in life - at no particular age although young mean and the elderly tend to be more susceptible - people suffer traumatic injuries from auto accidents, skiing or boating mishaps, motorcycle or bicycle incidents, war-related injuries, sports injuries, and slip-and-falls.

Progressive-based conditions befall people throughout life and at no specific age. Heart related and circulation ailments, cancer, arthritis. and diabetes strike many different ages, and they often demand very specific home improvements and modifications to accommodate those who are impacted.

When people reach what typically is thought of as retirement age (even if they continue working), their needs aren't universal across the age group. Some people remain very active, playing golf or tennis regularly, or bicycling, walking, jogging, or gardening. Other need to rely upon mobility aids and assistance such as wheelchairs, canes, or walkers. Some have joint stiffness or difficulties, range of motion limitations, vision or hearing concerns, and other issues that factor into how well they are able to function.

Therefore, we need to approach each individual and each living environment as unique settings even though we may find common solutions to recommend or find that we use similar treatments in many situations. It's not that we are matching a certain life or lifestyle need with a standard solution or treatment that we always or generally employ in such situations. It's still an individual, case-by-case, approach - even when it is something as common as a kitchen or bathroom makeover.

Just as no two homes are exactly alike - even though they may be built at roughly the same time, on the same street, with the same layout, and by the same builder - no two approaches for dealing with life's changing needs will be identical because people have various requirements within those homes, their life experiences and expectations are different, and their needs are not necessarily the same as even those of their neighbors.

If there was just one way to accommodate aging individuals who want to remain in their homes, as well as people with progressive or traumatic conditions regardless of their age, people could shop for and purchase it the way they do any other consumer goods or commodities. Clearly, that is not the case, and that is way we offer the services we do for people.


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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.