Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Low Budget AIP Solutions Cause Us To Be More Creative"

As we have discussed many times, people have various budgetary abilities when it comes to affording and paying for necessary or desired aging in place improvements to their homes. Some people just don't have the ability to fund a project like others. In our role as aging in place providers, it is more challenging to work with the smaller budgets because the need often is not less - just the ability to pay for it.

This forces us to be more creative in working with people in this category in two important ways. First, the solutions we propose have to be more innovative and cost effective. A larger budget can afford many details that a smaller one simply cannot. Second, we need to be able to point people in the direction of financial and support services that can help them pay for necessary projects whenever possible.

When people have large budgets, they can afford to do most anything reasonable to accommodate their needs. They aren't limited in what they can spend, the quality of the items they select, the brand names they use, of the number of improvements they decide to incorporate into their design. They don't need to decide in favor of one design over another because of what the designs represent in terms of price or because they can only afford to do so much.

If there are several items that need done in their home, the higher budget individuals can choose to have all some or all of the work done. They aren't limited financially in their choices. The lower budget cannot approach their remodeling this way. They must prioritize the work that needs to be done and select the one or two most pressing needs and then act on those.

Again, this causes us as aging in place professionals to be creative as well. Working with people who can afford to complete whatever work is necessary only causes us to identify all of the work that can be beneficial for the client. The smaller the budget, however, the less this is true. For low income seniors, they may have many needs and almost no means of taking care of them. We have to determine low cost ways of approaching their needs or identify products that are fairly inexpensive to use.

While working with people who can afford whatever we suggest and whatever is deemed necessary, people of more modest means are going to be very limited in what they can afford. Maybe they can complete some of the simpler work we identify by themselves. Maybe we can get volunteers to help them. There may be some grant money. The point is that working with people with high needs and low means causes us to find lower cost ways of approaching their renovations and a means of helping to pay for them also.

The reality is that some of the work simply won't be able to get done. Therefore, we have to be careful that we identify the most important task that will help the client - whatever the cost. If that is out of their ability to pay for it, we then need to see if we can determine a very low-budget means of accomplishing the renovation. This is especially true for issues that present real safety concerns for them. We cannot leave the work undone if there is any possible way to achieve some measure of success in addressing it.

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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. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.