Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"One Of The Keys To Effective Design Is Application"

To complete effective aging-in-place solutions and recommendations for our clients, we have to begin with their needs, expectations, and desires. Just because we determine that something will help them is not a good enough reason to provide it. They may not embrace it and choose to use it. It would be as if it was never completed or installed.

Application is everything - not in the sense of what works or how it might be used. Here, it's a matter of whether our clients are willing to use something that we design or implement for them. We might have the best of intentions, and have a carefully designed solution that seems to be indicated based on what we observe. Still, if they won't use it, don't use it every time they need to, or forget that it's there, it will not accomplish the desired results.

Even when something is medically necessary, it still has to be used by the client to get the desired results. This is the only way it can be effective for the client.

Think of someone who is supposed to take a certain prescribed or over-the-counter medication because their medical professional tells them that it will alleviate a condition or symptom they are experiencing. Then they become forgetful about using it or decide they don't like the taste of it. Either way, it doesn't get used so it can't help them with their issue. It's as if it was never recommended or prescribed to them. The medicine can't work while it's still in the box, bottle, or tube. It has to be applied.

That brings us to how we help our clients. If they reject - directly or because they won't use it - what we design or create for them, they will not be getting the benefit of the solution. Their safety will not be enhanced, and the living environment will not be improved.

No matter what the solution is that we design and create, we need for our clients to embrace and use it. Therefore, we have to have a great understanding with them as why we are suggesting a particular solution and convey to them that we are looking out for their general quality of life in their home.

This relationship that we build needs to be based on their trust so that we can do more than just build a solution. Many contractors can build a similar situation perhaps. However, by connecting with the client and having them really believe that we want the best for them, we will be able to offer and present a solution for them that meets their needs and one that they will use for their benefit.


When we are able to convey to them why we have acted as we have - because we genuinely want they to do well in their living space - they will appreciate what we have implemented and respect it. They need to believe that we have designed a solution specifically just for them - whether it is one we have created previously for others or not - and that is not just being done because we like and it was just something we wanted to do.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C.E.A.C., 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.