Most of us looked at getting into the aging in place services industry as a way to make a difference, but how exactly is this done? Maybe we need to start by working with a company as an employee of that company. If we start our own business, what service or product should be our focus? What about our clientele and market area?
This question of making a difference or being the difference can actually be asked and considered two ways – how do we (collectively) make a difference, and how do you (personally and individually) make a difference? To answer the second, let’s look briefly at the first one. This applies to all of us.
Regardless of our specialty or profession, and regardless of whether we already are engaged in providing aging in place services of some type or we are considering going into this field, we want to help people remain in their homes long-term, over-time. More than that, we want them to be safe and to enjoy their homes and their lives. They may have few discernable aging issues or they may face limiting mobility, sensory, or cognitive factors.
The way we make a difference in and to the marketplace first is by making sure we are approaching our service with the right vision. Is this just something we are doing because we think there is a need for aging in place renovation services and that we can make money doing it, or do we have a real passion for helping and serving people? Without the second part, we can’t make a difference. We can just show up and at most do a good job for the people who hire us.
To make a difference as a company – large corporation or sole practitioner – we have to define the services we provide in such a way that there is a real connection with the marketplace. Offering to paint homes blue because we think this is beneficial but there is no market demand for it will not sustain us or allow us to provide any meaningful service to the marketplace. We might do a great job, and the end product may look fantastic, but if there is a low demand for this or very little we can do to show that we are really enhancing the lives of the people we are serving, we won’t be successful beyond just selling and delivering a few jobs.
We have to keenly define a service or product that will help people be safe in their homes – from many different types of potential perils (falling, getting burned or cut, stumbling, tripping, walking into objects, slipping on footing or seating, over-reaching, and more). We have to make sure they are able to access their homes easily – entrances, doorways, passageways, and the floor space within rooms. Using very aspects of the home must be comfortable and convenient for them – controls and switches, faucets, tubs and showers, appliances, cabinets, closets, windows.
Then we can feel that we have the capacity to make a difference.
That leads us to the second question of we personally can connect with our clients and make a difference in their lives. We must have the company that offers relevant services to them because we understand what is needed and why they are beneficial. Then we have to show a truly caring attitude and demeanor when we are working with them – in making the initial sales presentation, doing the home assessment, explaining the scope of services and getting their agreement to proceed, doing the work in their home, and maintaining contact with them.
Too often, a job is done and then the relationship is severed. How do we show that we truly were interested in serving people and in making a difference in their quality of life if we don’t talk with them again or visit with them?
In short, we make a difference by providing a service people need in a manner which they appreciate – for what it is, for how it will help them, and for our thoughtfulness in suggesting it. Even though we might be providing construction services or durable medical equipment at some point, we still are in the personal services business. Caring is at the heart of it.