Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Now That I Have My CAPS Designation, What's Next?

If you recently obtained your CAPS designation - Certified Aging In Place Specialist - or you've had it for a while, congratulations. Well done. You are in a terrific position to help people now. So, let's look to the future and how this happens.

Getting your CAPS is a little like getting a college degree - less time and study involved, but a similar concept. You have specialized training and are credentialed. This, in and of itself, means very little, even though it is becoming increasingly popular with consumers.

The fact that so many other national bodies besides NAHB and AARP are supporting CAPS makes it easy for consumers to hear about CAPS and to actually request CAPS professionals to assist them. There are organizations such as NKBA, ASID, AIA, AOTA, APTA, AIBD, NAIPC, AHIA, and Age Safe America, among others that are encouraging participation in the CAPS program from their members and in turn, the general public.

Getting started with your CAPS in the marketplace is a little like landing that first job or starting a business right after college graduation - however long ago or recently that was. If you already have a position and a place to apply your designation, CAPS will make you a more valuable professional to your organization. If you are going to be creating a business or looking for a way to translate your credentials into the marketplace, you will need to establish a market position.

CAPS enables us to evaluate situations, connect with potential clients and their families, and offer solutions on a case-by-case basis. We will be using our CAPS background, along with any other professional expertise or perspective we may have, to create aging in place solutions. These solutions are not rehearsed, canned, or cataloged anywhere. They are client-centric, meaning that each has the potential of being totally unique.

While there will be similar situations due to home layouts, age of structures, and basic requirements of those dwellings, in the final analysis the solutions depend partially on the living space and partly on the needs or requirements of the client. Both have to be considered, and this is why no two projects are going to be exactly the same with precisely the same solutions being applied.

As you are getting ready to offer your services to the marketplace, determine exactly what you want to provide - spell it out for yourself so you can then explain it to your clients, strategic partners, and referring professionals who want to help you help their clients. After doing this, figure out the scope of what you want to provide - how large are the projects going to be and long will it take to execute them? This in turn will factor into your pricing.

You are going to need to spread the word about what you offer and whom you are appealing to, so be clear on your purpose and your message.

Remember that there are different market segments that need our services, and you can choose to address all three or focus on just one or two of them. You can work with people without urgent medical needs, and here you can choose amount lower income seniors, families, sandwich households, seniors, a combination of these, or some other demographic you find appealing to you.

You might choose to partner with health care professionals in serving the needs of their clients or people that will require their assistance in serving (progressive based needs or traumatic change needs) - regardless of their age, income, or living arrangements.

There is no shortage of places to begin your aging in place business, but before you start knocking on doors have a plan. Know what you are offering, why it is beneficial to the people you will be visiting or meeting, who you are going to need to help you deliver your services and solutions (and have this arranged before you ring that first doorbell or place that first phone call to a potential client), and how you are going to compete against others who might already be in your marketplace offering remodeling or home renovation services.

You have chosen a great pursuit. Work at it methodically.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, 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.