As aging in place professionals, we get the opportunity to impact, for the better, the lives of the people we are serving. We are able to draw great satisfaction from knowing that we allowed people to succeed in remaining independent and to stay in their homes.
We know that the overwhelming majority of seniors – nine-of-ten of Medicare age (age 65 and over) according to AARP – want to remain in their homes long-term. They value the ability to keep on living where they have been – whether they recently moved into that home or they have been there for several years, or even decades. There are many attributes of their home that they like, including its general location and floor plan. It may not be perfect for them, but that’s where we can help them.
Whether we are involved in some phase of construction (contractor, remodeler, handyman, builder, carpenter, or related profession), a healthcare occupation (occupational therapist, physical therapist, case manager, discharge planner, or several other possibilities), design (interior designer, kitchen and bath designer, architect, space planner, or similar endeavor), equipment specialist (durable medical equipment provider, assistive technology specialist, or other equipment professional), or several other instrumental aging in place professions and occupations, we get to be directly involved in working with the client in their home to create meaningful improvements for them and other members of their family.
There are many occupations where people go to work and come home each day feeling that they didn’t make that much of a difference. They performed routine tasks or repetitive work. They didn’t feel challenged or appreciated. We get to do what we like, each day is different, and the people we are working with appreciate our help because we are allowing them to remain in their homes.
Because no to assignments are going to be exactly alike, we have tremendous flexibility in how we engage our clients, learn about their needs, suggest improvements, and execute the jobs. Some of the work we do is going to relatively simple to accomplish. Others are going to take more time and resources.
Many of us are going to like doing jobs that are impactful but fairly quick to do. They don’t take very long, can make a huge difference in the safety and mobility of the occupants of the homes we are working with, and typically work well with budget-minded individuals. This could be as little as some simple repairs and paint or the installation of new hardware. It could involve changing or adding light fixtures or bulbs, installing ceiling or exhaust fans, moving wall controls and switches, changing the swing or style of doors, improving cabinet, drawer, or door hardware, exchanging faucets, or other relatively minor work that can be done in a few hours time.
Other jobs are going to be more complex with more than one room in the home being the focus of the improvements. These will be multiple day projects, and there might even be a medical component to the modifications we are doing. We may bring in a team to help us make the determination of what is needed, collaborate on what needs to be done, and then all pitch in to make it happen.
Regardless of what is being done or why – whether it is to improve the home or to allow the individuals to function better within it – we know that we are helping people live a better life than they were when we arrived or when we first met them. We can finish the job knowing that they are going to be able to function better in their homes and that they will find greater safety, access, comfort, and convenience within the walls of their home that they had before we started.
This is why we can find our work so fulfilling. We are not talking people into getting something that is a luxury or unnecessary expenditure. We are meeting with them, or with their advisors (such as caregivers, family members, case managers, occupational or physical therapists, designers, rehab specialists, attorneys, or public adjusters), to determine what will help them what type of budget they have, what how we can help them achieve the outcome they desire.
Our clients both need and want the work we can provide for them. This truly is a service. We can feel good about what we do and how we are helping people to improve their homes. In the majority of cases, our clients would not be able to make any of the modifications they desire and find necessary without our help. If someone like us doesn’t come along to help and provide the assistance needed, they work will remain undone.