Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Providing Aging-In-Place Solutions Is A Team Activity"

One of the great things about doing aging in place renovations - or about having them done from the consumer's perspective - is that it usually involves a team effort. There are times when a relatively simple modification or repair can be done, but often a more comprehensive approach is needed.

Fortunately, there are many team members available who can collaborate on providing an outstanding array of services. Whatever we are and whatever we add to the mix, there are several other professionals whom we can rely upon as strategic partners to help us deliver a variety of solutions to meet the needs - and budgets - of our clients.

We have to interview our potential team members to find those that are a good compliment to us - skill set wise as well as well as work ethics, integrity, diligence, and other important criteria. We don't need to work with just anyone. We can be very picky.

In picking a team, we aren't looking for employees, so normal interviewing and personnel (HR) rules don't apply. The people we choose to partner with strategically remain independent but are a reflection of who and what we are as a business. We just need to make sure the client is being served properly. That's the main focus.

We begin to formulate our team based on what we are and how we see the delivery of our services to the client. If we are a contractor, we need a health care component, a design element, an equipment specialist, and others (especially the trades) - depending ion our focus of the types of clients being served and their needs.

As a health care professional (occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist, physical therapy assistant, or other professional) we can provide the assessments and suggest the modifications that need to be done, but we can't do the work. We will need to partner with a contractor, at a minimum. Likely there will be many trade contractors involved also.

A designer (interior designer, kitchen and bath designer, or other design emphasis) can analyze the living space, looking at safety considerations, finishes, materials, basic design criteria and use patterns, and make a determination on how the space should be equipped for more function and for a good look - short of analyzing how any physical requirements or needs might need to be met.

Durable medical equipment providers are available to determine what equipment of a physical nature (assistive or adaptive) will be required to complete the design and to furnish and install it along with the other professionals on the team.

Depending on the scope of the job, handymen, electricians, carpenters, tile setters, plumbers, lighting contractors, flooring contractors, drywall installers, masons, and others will be called upon to contribute the expertise and skills to the project.

There could be the need for an architect, for an engineer, or for other types of building trades to be involved in various stages of design and execution as well.

In short, a home assessment or evaluation can be done by several different qualified professionals, and a simple remodeling effort might be accomplished by just the contractor or handyman. More likely, however, is a team approach involving the collaboration and participation of many different professions and occupations to provide an outstanding result for the client.

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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.