Monday, September 25, 2017

"Aging In Place Solutions Involve A Lot Of Creativity"

Let's take a look around us. There are so many new car models to choose from - domestic as well as imports in a range of price points and features. Many cars have similar styling, but each is distinctly different as to features, manufacturer, performance, and other important factors.

There are hundreds of home builders across the country - not as many in any given area but still plenty to present multiple choices to the marketplace.

Visit a grocery store and look at the dozens of selections in the cereal aisle. Cereal is cereal, right? Of course not. Then go to the bread aisle, the frozen pizza section, the ice cream section, and so forth.

Speaking of ice cream, just how many different flavors and combinations (by mixing them) are possible - and tasty? We can do this at home by combining flavors, or we can visit many establishments that already have this ready or will prepare them for us while we wait.

Think of the hamburger. Who knew that there were hundreds of different ways you could order a burger - the way it is cooked, the number of patties, the condiments, extra helpings of toppings, and more?

How many of us have the time or the interest to watch more than a very few TV networks or movie channels, yet there are hundreds of them available? The same with magazines, news channels, mobile apps for our phones, website domains, songs, and even flavors of toothpaste.

The point is that people have choices because each person has a slightly different interest level, perspective, and need for engagement and fulfillment - regardless of what they are experiencing of using.

So why should what they want our aging in place solutions for them to be anything radically different in terms of their choices? They have grown up with choices in nearly everything they use from foodstuffs to paper goods, cleaning supplies, clothes, entertainment, transportation, and more.

We can't limit ourselves to just suggesting a "cookie cutter" solution for people. They want and expect more, and frankly, they likely need more. It's possible we will have a basic approach that we will test out or recommend for certain types of dwellings or certain types of impairments, but we know that everyone is different in how receptive they are going to be to our recommendations, what they are willing or able to invest in a solution, how soon they need it done, how many others might be involved in the decision, and just what they consider to be what they would like to have us do.

Creating aging in place solutions is quite exciting and rewarding. There is nothing routine about it. Each person, each living environment, and each need or desired outcome is different. We want to keep people living in their current homes, and we want them to remain safe, viable, and independent in doing so. It's how we get to that point that calls upon our creativity and experience.

There are many ways that a similar outcome can be achieved - working with the starting point of what the home looks like now or construction parameters that are present, the mobility or sensory needs of the client, their budget, and what they would like to see achieved. We don't always have to get our own way. After all, it is the client's home. As long as the solution the client wants and approves is not something we would be embarrassed to have attached to our name, we can do it. It might be their idea, it might be ours, it might come from the team. The execution and the final results are what matters.

Since there is no single aging in place solution that applies across the board, we can be very creative in analyzing, structuring, and recommending a solution to use for each of our clients.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place 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.