Aging in place, from a provider standpoint, is a very fluid business. People approach having the necessary work done (or not done) in their homes from a variety of perspectives, but money or financial is a frequent lens that is used.
We would like to think that someone wouldn’t continue to live in a home that isn’t meeting their physical needs or providing a safe environment for them, but we know that often this is the case. People are good at learning to cope and adapt – just making the best of what they have, even when that isn’t all that good.
When they can make the improvements that really would help them – because they don’t know what is needed or they lack the financial resources to consider any updates – they find a way to get by with what they have. Sometimes continuing to live in that environment that already is difficult makes life even harder or more unpleasant for them.
We have two main challenges in reaching people that need improvements to help them age-in-place more successfully and effectively – showing them what can be done and helping them to see the value (rather than the cost or expense) in going forward.
Often, when it’s a financial issue, people can’t justify the expense, the out-of-pocket, the cost, or the price tag. Nevertheless, they can accept the value and agree to move forward based on that. We need to move from selling price to presenting value.
We need to help people get past evaluating potential improvements only a purely price basis. Obviously, there is a price for the work, and it has to be paid by someone – the client, a third party such as an insurance company, family members, nonprofit agencies, or grants.
However, as long as it is just a price or dollar amount issue, that becomes the chief consideration. When we get people to appreciate how their quality of life will improve, how their homes will be safer, that they will have less risk of personal injury (which could mean hospitalization and even more out-of-pocket expense) and that their homes will be more enjoyable and pleasant to use, we will have moved the discussion away from a money issue to a more emotional one.
Another consideration is the value that something represents. If someone has just finished a large meal of something they really enjoyed eating, offering them an additional course of their favorite food would not be too desirable – even if was free. There just would not be any interest. Value, therefore, relates to need and to how it is perceived.
When we illustrate to potential clients how something will be beneficial to them – regardless of the actual cost – they are going to be more inclined to want it. They won’t be evaluating it from a dollar standpoint but from a benefit position. Now, if the funds to acquire it just aren’t there, we need to be creative and resourceful enough to know where we can look to help find them some relief. They may not be able to make all of the improvements that we deem advisable, but they might be able to make some of them. That certainly is better than nothing, and we will have helped create a better living environment for them.