Monday, April 17, 2017

"Why Do They Make So Many Different Flavors Of Ice Cream?"

When it comes right down to what people prefer in ice cream, vanilla is the clear choice. It turns out that it is more than three times as popular as the runner-up, which is chocolate. In fact almost one-third of the ice-cream eating public prefers vanilla ice cream, compared to less than ten percent for number two.

Surprising? Maybe. Depends on our perspective possibly.

Anyway, this post is not about ice cream. It's about choices. Why all of the choices in ice cream flavors if most people prefer vanilla? Clearly, the answer is that not everyone wants or likes vanilla, or at least not every time.

There are dozens of different flavor possibilities - some still being served and available for purchase, while others have been discontinued. There are ice cream blends with nuts, fruit, candy, cookies, flavorings, colors, and more. People want a choice, depending on their mood or their own personal experience or tastes. Some comes packaged already and is ready-to-eat while other blends and favors can be assembled at a local ice cream shop, made-to-order.

If vanilla was the only flavor available - even though it's very popular - people would have a bigger choice to make than they do now. Currently, they get to decide what mood they are in, flavor-wise, and then act on it assuming they have that flavor in their freezer, their grocery store stocks it, or their favorite ice cream shop carries it.

If they could only purchase vanilla, they would have to decide whether to have ice cream or not. That would be the only question - not whether to have it and then what flavor to have. Just whether to have it. Of course, even at that, presumably there would be chocolate sauce, caramel topping, or fruit or nuts that could added to make it less "vanilla" and more of a specialty.

So, what does all this discussion about ice cream have to do with aging in place solutions? It illustrates that there is not just one standardized approach to meeting people's needs and that people requirement different treatments. They have various preferences, and their homes - as well as their physical needs - vary from each other.

If we could only deliver a set package of improvements, or if somehow an aging in place solution was defined as to what it could include, people would be deciding whether to get it or not based strictly on what was included. They would have to decide if the cost, arguably less of consideration than the items included in the package, was worth it for what they would be getting. They would have to decide if their lives would be better off - and by how much - if they purchased the package or just continued to live as they are.

Because no two homes are identical, no two households have the same requirements, and budgets and timing will vary, there are a somewhat endless variety and combination of solutions we can prepare and offer to our clients. Some are going to minimal help in their homes to rectify general access or safety issues (passageways, doorways, flooring, lighting, and hardware, for instance).

Some are going to desire extensive kitchen or bath makeovers, both with and without a physical need that requires it.  

Some are going to need improvements tied to their specific physical limitations or progressive condition.

Regardless, it's great to know that we don't have just one flavor to offer and that we can really address the needs of our clients to the extent they are willing to fund and have the work done.

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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