Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Urgency Can Be Stimulated But Not Manufactured"

As aging in place professionals who want to enable our clients to live in a safer home environment than might be the case presently, we want them to appreciate that changes can and should be made. Of course, they are free to disagree with our assessment and continue living in denial or rejection of what seems so obvious to us.

In trying to make a case for the improvements we envision - keeping within the budget parameters that have been determined or established - we want to create a sense of urgency for them to act. If they perceive the anticipated or proposed changes in the light that we do - that these will enhance their lifestyle and the sooner they can be implemented the better - this is the optimal situation. It is a high priority with the right degree of urgency to get a commitment to for us to begin the work for them.

Sometimes, they will not agree with the sense of urgency we are attempting to establish. There will be a little pushback or foot-dragging.

Often, it's a money issue. Even though people may benefit from certain safety or accessibility improvements recommended for their homes, there is the matter of paying for them. When there are no grants or similar funding available, when they don't have the money sitting in their bank account, and when they may not qualify for a loan, even the most obvious treatments will have to wait until later. Urgency gives way to reality.

Even when clients do have the money, they may not want to spend it - at least not on what we are suggesting or to the full extent of what we are describing. This procrastination in favor of holding onto their money (possibly for a perceived future need) thwarts urgency.

Sometimes it is a fixed income that can't readily replace the funds when they are spent for what the clients deem to be a less that emergency improvement. We might see the urgency in a particular safety or mobility application, but they may decide to continue coping with what they have and deny that it needs to be done - at least in the short term.

It might just be a hesitancy to act or make a decision. Even when they are convinced that it is in their best interest to make the improvements we are suggesting for them, and even when they have the ability to pay for them, they still may refuse to act - citing any number of stalling reasons or excuses. We cannot sign the authorization for them. If they can't or won't respond to the urgency that they see, the improvements that need to be made simply can't be completed for them.

In some cases, we are going to want the changes for our clients more that they are going to want them for themselves. They are not going to appreciate how such changes are going to positively impact their lives. We cannot force people to act. They must want the changes to be made and must be willing to agree to having them done. As urgent, important, or necessary as they may seem to us, the client has to see them that way as well - and then accept our proposed solution so we can get started.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, 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.