Every solution that we create for aging in place clients is going to be a little different – sometimes quite different. The reason is that no two people are alike, no two people have the same needs, no two people have the same level of interest in addressing their needs (no matter how prominent they might be), and no two homes are exactly the same in age, layout, features, or condition.
That said, the solutions that are created for people living in their homes are going to vary additionally by who they choose to have help them. They might choose a handyman to help them because he or she is very reasonable (possibly the lowest price in their market) and they can respond very quickly. Maybe the client is going to dictate what they want done, and the handyman will just do it. Maybe their experience in working with aging in place solutions is somewhat limited so this approach is understandable.
The client could choose a remodeler or general contractor who will approach the aging in place project the way they would any other remodel of the same description – irrespective of any special needs the client has or anything of an underlying medical condition that should be considered but likely will not be. The contractor may do a good job for them, and they may or may not be the most reasonable or the most expensive in the marketplace, but the client can have a better, stronger solution when a team gets involved.
The client can have a designer, decorator, or other professional create a solution for them based on what they describe as what they are looking for or what the professional desires to implement for them. Again, the results may be great, but they can be more comprehensive.
The point is that any of us, no matter what our profession or level of experience is going to approach an assignment with a client based on what we know, what we like to create, and governed largely by our collective experiences. If we have a history with a particular product or solution – good or bad – that likely is going to influence how we approach a new engagement with a client. We cannot escape our experiences as being a guiding factor in how we want to approach a new job.
This is why creating a team approach is beneficial. For starters, the client doesn’t have to look for, interview, discuss their situation, and then select a contractor to manage and complete the entire project – or a handyman, or designer, or a carpenter, or anyone else. The team means that the client gets the collective experiences and abilities of all the participating members of the team. Additionally, occupational therapists, assistive technology professionals, equipment specialists, and other potential team contributors who don’t have a direct construction role can provide valuable direction for the project.
Nothing against any profession, but we have a tendency to know our scope of services quite well and only have a passing knowledge of other professionals or specialties as we have run across their work or had them contribute to something we have done previously.
To provide the best solutions possible for the marketplace, we need to create an aging in place solutions design and delivery team that will be unparalleled for serving the needs of people desiring to have their homes improved when they need more than just a simple product installation (grab bars, door hardware, or a ramp, for instance) or a repair.
When it comes to analyzing how to approach the client’s space, taking into consideration their mobility and sensory needs, their budget, their desires, and the physical constraints and condition of the home, and then arriving at a solution, there will be nothing better in the marketplace than this team that is assembled.
The team combines all of the essential disciplines for the client (without them needing to do this) and it spreads out the combined experiences so that the client is getting more than what any single professional has experienced or prefers as a solution and gets a balanced team concept that serves their needs better and gives them that unique solution – just for them.
Anyone can locate the potential assignment – contractor, occupational therapist, designer, or other team member – and then the collaboration can be set into motion to create an effective solution for the client that is stronger, more complete, and more beneficial for the client than what any of them could have created alone. Even if one or two of them had combined, the result would not be as strong as a consistent effort from the team.