Monday, June 26, 2017

"Aging In Place Solutions Fit A Variety Of Budgets"

When we watch TV makeover shows, visit product showrooms, surf the internet in search of solutions, or follow others on social media, it's easy to see designs that require a significant budget to accomplish. They are beautiful, cutting-edge, innovative, and not generally for the modest budget. However, it's fun to see what's available because we get to learn about use the latest technology, gadgets, and products.

The trickier part of the equation - for those who serve the lower incomes or more modest budget solutions as part of their business model - is finding equally good solutions for a fraction of the cost. High end solutions are great, but people don't always have the budget to accomplish this.

Just because someone has a limited budget is no reason they can't enjoy quality aging in place solutions to help them remain in their homes more easily and enjoyably by creating greater safety, accessibility, and comfort. This is where our creativity, knowledge, and experience comes into play.

Some seniors are living on fixed incomes and may not think they can afford any improvements - even thought they might admit that some tweaks would be helpful. Our evaluation likely would concur, and this is where we need to be creative in identifying appropriate changes for their home. We also might focus on making just one or two improvements that will begin to enhance their lifestyle, or in finding alternate funding sources for them to provide more solutions.

There are many non-profit organizations, local and national governmental agencies and programs, and support and advocacy groups that may be able to step in and help - with funding (loans or grants), product (new or refurbished that they can pass along that has been donated or otherwise made available to them), labor (volunteer or staff), and templates (work that has been done successfully in the past for homes of a similar age or condition).

Lower income seniors and others requiring help to improve their homes to facilitate a higher quality of life and more safety could certainly benefit from the same types of services as higher income households. Nevertheless, just by making one, two, or a handful of improvements - at a very controlled budgetary amount - could make a world of difference for them.

We each have a different market that we focus on serving - luxury, higher income, middle income, and lower income, and we have many resources at our disposal to help create effective solutions.

Aging in place solutions are client-centric first. We focus on their needs regardless of how simple or complex that solution becomes. Then we look at the living environment. This is where budget plays a huge role. For medically necessary improvements, insurance or other third-party funders can step in and help. It with space modifications and improvements that will enhance the quality of life in passageways, kitchens, bathrooms, entries, and other areas that there is a wide range of choices and budgetary considerations. 

Addressing our clients needs is what we want to accomplish, but there are many ways to do this - from quite simple to very elegant, with the budgetary requirements varying accordingly. Nevertheless, there often are very simple solutions that will discover or create that can be implemented in various ways. We might even be able to take a very elaborate or complex product and re-engineer it in such a way that we can build a version of it ourselves for much less and give our clients a more basic version of that solution - at a price they can afford.

Our clients are looking for solutions, and it's our role to present those solutions to them - from what we are aware of in the marketplace or what we can create based on our knowledge and experience. Depending on our clientele, we need to be able to identify and suggest a wide variety of solutions at various price points.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master 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.