The great thing about serving our clients who want to remain in their homes and age in place is that everyone is different. How mundane it would be if all were the same. Then we could just create a simple (or perhaps not so simple) solution or set of templates for people, and they would just choose which package to purchase and have it installed.
If we were retailers rather than service providers, we could have a storefront with the various vignettes featured that we sell and provide for people. We could have a website with all of the packages described and featured. However, how many different companies would fit in the space before it was saturated?
If there was just a prototypical solution that could fit everyone and address their needs fully, there would be little need for us to meet with potential clients in their homes, perform an evaluation to determine what is not meeting their needs, and then design a solution customized just for them – and for their budget. If there was just a limited selection of solutions or even a single, basic solution for everyone to get who wants or needs something done in their home, the price point would be rather stable as well. Oh sure, there would be lower end approaches and more luxury treatments of the same elements – that’s only normal for retailers, but the basic package would be essentially the same.
How great it is then that there isn’t just a single solution or limited scope of what we can provide. Some people are going to need very little in the way of products to help them have a more comfortable or convenient lifestyle in their current home because it already addresses many of their needs, or their needs are not as extensive as some others who are going to require major transformations in their homes to address the shortcomings of their home or the way use it.
Each person’s needs are different as are the characteristics of each dwelling. There could never be a one-size-fits-all approach to offering an aging in place solution unless it was a grab bar package or something of this nature, and even here, there are so many styles, shapes, finishes, and colors from which to choose, as well as how and where they are installed in the client’s home.
Creating aging in place solutions is such a dynamic process because we are working with individuals, and our solutions are likewise individually based. It might turn out that we could provide essentially the same design for multiple people over time, but that would because they all had similar needs that could be met this way and not because we were trying to standardize our approach to providing solutions. Everything is based on the individual and their needs.
Sometimes, addressing issues in the home – lighting, flooring, hallway widths, door openings, window styles and sizes, wiring, HVAC systems, bathtubs, and other components – will go a long way toward achieving a solution for the needs of the client. Maybe that will make their home more functional for them to a large extent. Other times, it will be a combination of home features and individual functional needs that suggest what we need to do in a design solution.
Regardless of how we choose to approach working with our clients, one thing is clear – there is not a stock approach or solution that will meet everyone’s needs or appeal to every situation. Likely not even the majority of them. This means that we get to use or training and professional expertise to survey the situation and craft a response that will meet the needs of the people we are working with in each case.
Another very important point to consider is competition. If there was a stock approach to aging in place solutions, and there were merchants who carried this single or limited range of standard solutions in their establishments or online, the client would likely be shopping based on price and availability rather than on service, reputation, and experience. The quality of the work might matter to some, but the lowest price would be more attractive to others. This is a big reason for liking the fact that there can never be a standard approach.
It’s not like this is coming either. Because each person and their specific dwelling is different from others, we can’t tell without looking and surveying the situation what might work, what they already have that is working (that potentially would be part of a standardized solution set if one were ever to exist), and other aspects of the way they use their home.
Since there are multiple service providers from which a person can choose to offer solutions for them, let’s make sure we are the best and most experienced. This is how well make sure that people want to choose and work with us to help them.