Many of us, over the past sixteen years, have decided to take three days out our busy schedule and sit in a classroom to complete the Certified Aging In Place Specialist (“CAPS”) training. We took the coursework to receive our CAPS designation to gain specific knowledge and insight about how to help people of any age or ability remain in their current home and function effectively there. We learned about solutions, products, and services that we (ourselves or through the collaboration of like-minded professionals) could provide for people who required some modifications in their living space to make it more comfortable, convenient, accessible, and safer.
We can feel quite good about the service we provide, regardless of what our profession is, because we get to serve people in a very meaningful way. Shelter – their home – is a basic need (one of just a few) that people have. We deal in a product or service that impacts their core needs and offer them something that is necessary for a higher quality of life. As we meet and engage people to begin telling our story of what we do and we might help them, we need to make sure that the people who can benefit from what we offer are aware of our credentials and abilities and how that relates to the service we provide.
Those of us who have earned the CAPS designation represent a wide spectrum of professional specialties including general contractors, custom home builders, real estate sales (new homes and existing), renovators, remodelers, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, pharmacists, physicians, nurses, case managers, rehabilitation specialists, insurance agents (including workers compensation), public adjusters, home inspectors, handymen, interior designers, decorators, kitchen and bath designers, durable medical equipment providers and installers, equipment specialists, building material manufacturers and sales representatives, trade contractors (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tile setters, HVAC, low voltage electricians, fabricators, flatwork, and more), home stagers, landscape architects, building designers, attorneys, architects, home health, visiting nurses, senior service agencies, nonprofit organizations, social workers, and dozens of others.
Regardless of who we are, what professional expertise we offer, what services we are prepared to provide, why we took and completed the CAPS courses, or where we provide our services, the public needs to know that we are available to help them and that we have a very special expertise allowing us to work with their issues, or those of close family members and friends.
It’s easier for some people to talk about what they do and to share their professional story with others, but we provide a valuable service that is worth people knowing about so we should welcome opportunities to let people know what we do and how we can help them. Let’s make it a point – especially as we are preparing to launch a new year in another month – to share our story as often as we can. We don’t have to go out of our way or be bothersome about it, but neither should we shy away from opportunities to let people know that help is available from us as they desire to remain in the forever homes and age in place – regardless of their current age, ability, or the type or value of their home.
We know that people want to stay in their homes as they age, and we also know that a major challenge for many people who need improvements to make their homes safer or more serviceable for them is finding a reputable contractor or to getting a trained health care professional like an OT or PT to help them evaluate their needs.
By talking about our designation to people we already might be working with (or past clients we have served – and their families and close friends), new people we are meeting, and people who ask us what we do (a frequent conversation starter in public) – and by discussing what our CAPS training means to us and why we got the additional education, we can let people know how we can help them enjoy a higher quality of life and remain in their homes the remainder of their lives.
Let’s not overlook the power of our websites and social media profiles where you can discuss our credentials and services also.
People aren’t necessarily going to know that we have the CAPS training or how they can benefit from it without us helping to inform them. Many people are aware of CAPS through the combined efforts of NAHB, AARP, AIA, AOTA, APTA, ASID, NKBA, AIBD, and similar organizations. However, they may not have a good concept on how they can benefit from working with a CAPS professional, and they may not know that we have the designation. Marketing is quite important for spreading the word and sharing our CAPS story with your marketplace so that people we want to serve can know about and find us.