Saturday, September 17, 2016

"No Two People Are Exactly Alike, And Neither Are AIP Solutions"

We all got to where we are today  through very different paths. Therefore, it's no wonder that all of us (or at least many of us) have different outlooks on life, different plans for the future, different intentions on how we want to age, and various requirements for our forever homes.

We all have had different life experiences – even if we grew up in the same household with the same parents. We had our own friends, teachers, life experiences, little league and high school coaches, work experiences, and interactions with friends and strangers. Two people from the same household may have different talents, different interests, and express those interests in various ways. Some are athletic, some musical, some joiners, and some more reserved. There are many ways that siblings might vary even though they are exposed to essentially the same home environment.


In short, who we are today is the composite of myriad life experiences over the years that has helped to shape and mold us.

That said, we can't be expected to behave like many other people although there are group dynamics and similarities across various core beliefs, values, and experiences.

Nevertheless, what we have experienced - at home, at college, in the workplace, on our own, and in relationships - has been affected in some ways also by our outlook. This tends to act as a filter for how we view and interpret life.

What we want, what we expect, how we like to be treated, and how we treat and interact with others has been shaped in various ways by our experiences. Where we grew up, who we associated with, hobbies we have (or don't have), clubs and organizations we have belonged to, and national or ethnic heritages we identify with or hold onto all affect how we do life. They affect how we view new ideas and possibilities that are presented to us – such as aging in place solutions.

Therefore, creating a boilerplate solution that can be applied uniformly among seniors or those with various special needs is just not practical. While similarities may exist in solutions that are created for homes that were built about the same time and are roughly the same size and layout, the fact remains that what people want, what they are willing to pay for, and what they think they need are filtered to a large extent by their life experiences.

Then, in addition to the influence that those life experiences have in deciding what, if any, work will be commenced to help them have a safer and more enjoyable life in their current home, we need to factor in media exposure and peer comments.

Many people place a lot of stock in what they see and read in the media and on home decoration and renovation shows. Their homes and their needs may not correspond at all to what they are viewing, yet they think this is the way for them to go.

They also are concerned about what their friends, neighbors, and relatives are going to say about any planned improvements.

It's no wonder that each renovation is different, given all of the factors that come into play and actually affect any decision that is made. From looking at life through the filter of their experiences, having various expectations from watching TV and reading online content, and from talking with others, people can obtain a sense of the improvements they should have - even if those are the most desirable or recommended.

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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.