Friday, July 22, 2016

"We Don't Have Time To Learn As We Go"

In the aging-in-place market, people need results, they expect them, and they are counting on us to deliver them. Whether they have waited years for necessary repairs to be done because they have put them off or didn't have the money until now, or it's a recent development that requires fairly immediate attention, people who call upon us need us to be ready to respond to their requirements.

Some businesses allow for and actually provide on-the-job training because they don't expect people to have the necessary skills to do the required job when they arrive. They are willing to bring people along as they work into the necessary skill set to do the job well. We don't have time for that, and neither do our clients.

There's an old adage for success that says a person should "fake it 'til you make it," but our clients - and the strategic partners we seek out to work with top provide quality solutions for our clients - want the real deal. There's too much at stake to show up unprepared to do the work. Talking a good game won't do. We need to be ready to deliver as promised and represented.


If any of us can't deliver as we intend or promise - or as the situation demands - then we go a different direction or wait until we can do what we say we can.

On-the-job training may be fine for some pursuits, but in the aging-in-place market, we are talking about working inside people's homes and using their hard-earned savings wisely. We have a fiduciary responsibility to them that cannot be undertaken on just a general idea of how to approach something.

It's more than just displaying confidence about what we might be able to do or what we think we should be capable of providing. We actually have to have the technical expertise to evaluate what our clients need, advise them about what works within their budget, prioritize the work if necessary to accommodate their budget, and then deliver our solutions as we have described them.


This is more than just a typical remodeling effort. It involves creating safe, accessible, and comfortable conditions for people that likely can't do the work themselves - even if they really wanted to. They likely can't envision the scope of work or renovations that need to be done as well.


People want to enjoy living in their homes long-term. It does no good to agree with them that changes need to be made to accomplish that purpose if we aren't the ones who can do it for them.


Of course, we can perform many functions in the design, assessment, and renovation process. Some us might be
 consultants, OTs, OTs, designers, or suppliers rather than contractors or remodelers. That's fine. We just need to make sure that our clients know the extent of our expertise and that they don't expect us to do the work if that is not in our field of expertise to do so.

Regardless of the nature of our profession or what skills we can contribute to the overall renovation project for our clients, we need to up-to-speed with what we are doing and how everything fits together before we ever market ourselves or represent to the public that we can provide solutions for them.

Aging-in-place solutions are just to vital and important for it to be done any other way.

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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.