Monday, February 19, 2018

"Creating AIP Solutions Follows The Needs They Address"

Creating aging in place solutions is not something that we do to people or their homes, it's something we do with them and for them. Without an understanding of what they need to improve their lives in their homes, what they will accept, how best to go about it, and how they feel that our suggestions will help them, we are not going to present our case to them convincingly. It's not about us making a sale (although that has to happen for us to proceed in helping them), but it's about meeting and addressing their needs.

Without a full understanding of what someone's needs might be, we really can't suggest effective strategies for addressing them. Boilerplate suggestions that we use regardless of the situation just aren't appropriate for aging in place solutions. We must create a specific response for a specific need.

There may be designs that we recommend on a consistent basis because they apply to so many people and cut across a range of needs, but that doesn't mean we submit them blindly without regard for our client, their priorities, budget, or needs.

After we assess what our clients need, it's likely that improved lighting and flooring - especially the lighting - will be part of the design. What type of lighting, where it will be located, and what it needs to accomplish will be determined by our observations and assessment. While we are fairly confident that a lighting element will be part of our design because it is so important for the well-being of people we work with, we don't know how or to what extent it will be a factor until we evaluate and decide upon other components of the design. If there are other priorities higher than lighting, and the budget is very limited, it may get left off the list and not get addressed. This is unlikely, but this is how we approach an aging in place renovation.

In addition to lighting, accessibility, flooring, hardware, and other common needs that are typical improvements, we need to look at what our clients need and which of their requirements have the highest priority. We start there. If two items are tied for importance, and we can just do one of them, we look at which one is the most cost effective to conduct and which might last the longest. Hopefully, we can help our clients identify and find the funds to complete all of their high priority wish list.

Each client is going to be different for us and to express different needs from everyone else. Some are going to have more urgent needs than others. With some, our focus is going to be making their homes safer and more accessible/ With others, they are going to have medical concerns and physical requirements that need to be met. There is such a range of possible solutions to create that none will be identical to each other and all will be tailored specially to the needs of the individual client 

Once we understand how we can help our clients by addressing both the physical needs of their dwelling and their mobility and sensory needs to live their effectively, we can be to determine what needs to be done and in the proper order. Just because we like to do a particular type of improvement when facing a similar situation does not mean that this will be our conclusion each time. It still is dependent on interpreting the specific needs of the client and then creating a strategy for meeting them.

We must create our solutions based solely on client needs and not try to instill our will for their improvements irrespective of what they need and their budget. Doing so would be met with rejection by them and result in them not getting the help they require.


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 or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.