For instance, there are certain shelves that are too high for anyone to reach unless they are remarkably tall. Nevertheless, as we get older, as we become less flexible in our muscles and joints, and as our range of motion may contract, issues such as reaching these higher shelves (or ones that didn’t offer us that much of a challenge in younger or more physically able years) in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other areas in the home become more of a concern for us now.
In addition to normal sensory, mobility, and cognitive changes that can occur with advancing years, limited range of motion, flexibility and general field of movement are factors that may be considered less often in an assessment or redesign configuration. They should not be relegated to a secondary position but considered right up there with the others.
Range of motion limitations are found in such places in the home as reaching for items in the kitchen and bath, going up and down stairs or steps, getting into or out of a tub and shower – or a bed or chair, opening doors, turning on faucets, and lifting, bending, squatting, or sitting.
These are extremely important design considerations that our clients may encounter and for us to be aware of. However, there is another type of range of motion that impacts our aging in place business that is not client-centered such as this.
What about the range of motion that applies to our ability to move about in the marketplace and to be aware of opportunities for new business and to actively cultivate those opportunities? Range of motion here refers to ability to range from our office, from our desk, or from our telephone to be able to engage people that need our help. It may be clients directly or it may be through referring or strategic professionals who have clients themselves that need us to serve.
By range of motion in this context, we are looking at our ability to be active in the marketplace, to seek out those who might need our help, and to be actively looking for new opportunities where we can be of assistance rather than being fairly narrow and limited in the types of business or clientele that we pursue.
This does not mean that we should be expanding our business model or going outside of it. It does mean that we should look harder for opportunities and real need that falls within the scope of what we do so that we can serve more people, and in doing so make more money.
The range of motion, or willingness to move about freely and be active within our marketplace as we seek out opportunities that are present – directly and through those who can refer work to us – is going to have a direct impact on the number of lives that we can serve and ultimately how successful we are going to be, regardless of the nature of our aging in place business.