“The New CAPS III Course Provides Practical Aging In Place Applications”

Since the inception of the Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program in 2002, there have been three revisions of the CAPS I curriculum and the same with the CAPS II course. The was never a specific CAPS III course until now. The Business Management course functioned as the third required class to obtain the designation, but there were many exemptions. Thus, some people took all three classes, and some took just the first two of them.

For almost a year now, we have had the official CAPS II course which fills the void in the three-part designation series. The class was introduced on October 25, 2017.

The great thing about the CAPS II class, other than we finally have one, is that everyone takes it. There are no more exemptions based on coursework or another professional designation that someone might have. Now, when people take the three CAPS classes, we know that everyone has taken all three of them so it definitely levels the playing field in terms of expectations. Both the public and fellow designation holders know that when they work a recent CAPS graduate that we all have taken the same coursework. There will still be some who have not taken the CAPS II course, but this will lessen over time.

Some people who did not need to take the Business Management class previously to obtain their CAPS designation because they received an exemption, as well as many people who did take the Business Management class to complete the requirements for their CAPS, are now electing to take the new CAPS III class for the material it offers. It’s a great way to utilize information in the CAPS I and CAPS II classes, and it provides six hours of continuing education for those who need it and can use it with their licensing organization.

The CAPS III class – “Details & Solutions For Livable Home & Aging In Place” – is one that occupational and physical therapists will find beneficial. Certainly, contractors, equipment and assistive technology specialist, designers, non-profit organizations, and many others will find the material useful, but there is a clear emphasis on the role of healthcare professionals in creating aging in place solutions in this course.

In CAPS I, “Marketing & Communicating With The Aging In Place Client” (the new version as of May, 2017), we look at the three major aging in place market segments (people without urgent medical needs, people with progressive medical conditions, and those with traumatic change needs) and three functional areas of ability (mobility, sensory, and cognitive) that we would use to assess in determining how to approach creating solutions for each. We talk about market trends, marketing our services, and creating strategic relationships with other professionals to help us offer a stronger presence for our clients. We also discuss some design strategies such as universal design and visitability. Many people can relate to the material presented in this course because of a personal experience.

In the CAPS II class, “Design Concepts For Livable Home & Aging In Place,” many types of design, building standards, and contractual considerations are covered and especially how occupational and physical therapist can interface with both the clients and the contractors and other team members to interpret client needs and help the team create effective solutions. There are several exercises to illustrate what is discussed.

Then, we come to the newest member of the CAPS coursework family, CAPS III. It utilizes and builds upon the material covered in the previous two classes plus the professional experiences of those in attendance.

This course offers real-world case studies for us to examine and experience. We get a chance to see how people with a specific diagnosis or condition relate to their present home and how that home may need to be modified to appeal to their current needs. In a couple of the case studies, the changes have been made, and in a couple of others they haven’t. This gives us the experience of evaluating how something was done as well as participating in a solution for which there is no answer provided – just what we come up with in our discussions and observations and guided by a budget.

The case studies that we look at involve many elements of an existing home, a description of the current needs of occupants of those homes, priorities to be addressed (some are defined, and some are left up to the class to determine), and a budget for each project. The studies involve a retired couple presenting a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis for one and hearing loss and arthritis for the other, a family of four with a young son on the autism spectrum, a teenager involved in a traumatic automobile accident with rehab being required in the short term, and a retired couple in their forever home with one having advancing MS symptoms and the other suffering physical limitation from diabetes and arthritis.

This course is a great addition to the CAPS curriculum and a reason that people who already have their designation are electing to take it for the information and the exercises included. There also is a section on mobility equipment and construction techniques that complements the material in the CAPS II course.

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