Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"It Is Our Responsibility To Assess A Home To Determine What It Needs To Have In A Renovation"

Some of the home improvement projects we will be asked to take a look at and provide a solution for will be more straightforward than others. Some will be quite intuitive, and the owners will have a good idea of what they would like to have done as well as a reasonable budget for accomplishing the desired work.

Some will be much more difficult where they is a reluctance to do anything or a budget is quite low to accomplish much of the modifications which seem to be indicated by our review.

Some of the people we attempt to work with to help provide an aging in place solution will have difficulty expressing themselves about what they would like to have done in their homes to help them enjoy those homes more.

Regardless of how easy it is for someone to help us pinpoint the changes that will make their homes more serviceable and livable for them or how reticent they might be about working with us or seeing any changes made to their homes, the root of all good plans lies in our ability to accurately assess what is going on in each home.

Whether our clients are capable of helping us, or they have a reluctance in expressing themselves and their desires, it still is our responsibility to survey their homes in great detail and evaluate what is going on both in the space itself and in the abilities of those living there to navigate in and use their space effectively.

We cannot rely on our clients being able to evaluate their homes and give us a list of everything they would like done. Some of them may be able to to this satisfactorily, but it is not a dependable process. When we receive this kind of input from our clients we should be grateful for their assessment. Still, we have to verify their impressions and supplement it with what we observe.

We cannot relegate our responsibility for evaluating our clients home to them. They are not the trained professionals - we are. While some of them may assist us in identifying or explaining what is going on and how they see it being modified to help them, it still is our call as to what we see and what we are going to recommend.

We must be good at observing the space and the clients functioning with it. We also must be quite good at asking questions, listening carefully for the responses, and then using that information skillfully to craft an acceptable solution - in terms of function and budget. 

Asking questions is one of the most important things we can do in determining how to approach a home renovation. Things aren't always as them seem, and there may be underlying medical or physical conditions that aren't immediately obvious that will impact the suggested renovations and design.

Our questions need to be more than just routine or survey-type questions where we are going down a checklist. That is a great place to start, but we need to expand that and really get to the heart of what is going on and how we can be successful in creating a solution that will help them long-term or until their needs change significantly - depending on what is going on in their lives.

We have a very important role to play in peering deep into the goings-on of a home and determining what the current situation is and how we can rectify it to make the client's home more functional and enjoyable for them. 

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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.