Friday, October 6, 2017

"AIP Solutions Aren't Necessarily Elaborate"

Sometimes, simplicity carries the day. For those of us who are pet owners (especially dogs and cats) know that we can go to the pet store, discount store, or shop online and find the cutest toys, beds, and other accessories for them, yet they play with an empty water bottle, chew on an old shoe or stick, sleep on something they find laying on the floor, and find other ways to frustrate our efforts to provide them with top-notch amenities.

The same experience can be seen with kids. They can have the best games and sporting equipment, but often they get a tremendous amount of enjoyment and entertainment out of something they just pick up or invent in the moment.

There's an expression that says that necessity is the mother of invention which means that often we figure out a quick, easy, or inexpensive solution to something by using what we have on hand as resources. Maybe this is why duct tape is so versatile. We look around and see what can be pressed into service to solve a need or issue that we have, and we either are satisfied with that solution or we improve upon it as we have more time and materials later to reinforce or improve upon our original idea.

As we enter someone's home that needs our help, we assess what is going on. There may be a very simple way to improve upon what we see. There could be a more elaborate one as well, but often it's that initial, simple, intuitive approach that ends up being the best for the client and us. It does the job, and it's easy on the budget.

This won't always be the case, but instead of looking for complicated solutions to issues we are observing, we should look for a simple solution. Then we can decide if that is the one we want to present to the client, or if we want something a little more detailed.

When we have faced a situation in our own homes that required an immediate response, or we needed to fix a persistent issue, we sometimes would just do something quick, or we would use something we had on hand that seemed to be right for the issue - even if it wasn't made for that purpose or an exact match. Many an invention has resulted from a need that was satisfied initially from using materials on hand or re-purposing something that was designed for another use.

With our clients, we may have to use something a little more durable than we would use in own homes because we aren't going to be there to redo it if it doesn't last. Still, the initial idea that we have, or a very simple approach can be the winner.

When we look at something and immediately think that a certain method or solution might work, that easily could be the answer that we'll end up going with to solve the issue. Overthinking the situation and making it more complicated and expensive than it needs to be isn't necessary. The client will thank us for a quick and easy solution that was affordable as well. Simple doesn't always equate with inexpensive, but often it does. Also, simple often means a quick resolution to an issue.

Let's not shy away from going with our first ideas just because it's quick, easy, or an inexpensive solution to an issue the client was facing. They won't think any less of us for not having a complicated or expensive approach. In fact, just the opposite. Looking at something and wondering if a certain approach might work is a good place to start. We don't need to over-improve on an idea. We might surprise ourselves at just how resourceful we can be in helping 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.