The idea of what or what is not expensive or affordable often is based on personal taste and experience. Income and net wealth are factors also. Depending on how badly we desire something and what its price tag or value is (not always the same thing), we can find various ways to achieve it – sometimes with compromises, substitutes, and creativity. This is one of the driving factors in do-it-yourself or DIY projects that people do for themselves. Many people are handy and enjoy doing them. Other do it to save money.
Regardless of what is done, who does it, or how it is done, this relates to how we take care of our homes.
Given that someone’s current home may not be meeting their current needs – although it maybe has done so in the past, or possibly it never really did – they want to make some improvements to make their home safer or more livable. This is where we get involved as aging in place specialists. First, we should meet with the client to appreciate first-hand what is going on and what might need to be addressed, regardless of how simple or extensive it is and irrespective of the ultimate price tag to do so. Then can we perform an assessment about what the current situation is and what may be involved in making improvements that we discern as being necessary or beneficial. Then, we get into the process of deciding what is acceptable to the client in terms of styling, finishes, sizes, colors, and budget.
The client will consider our recommendations and agree with our assessment of the work that needs to be done, or they will object to price or scope, or they will suggest additional ideas of what they would like to have done. Part of our role is to help them prioritize the work that we are suggesting and the areas of the home that both we and they think are the most critical to complete first – along with the appropriate treatments in those areas. Other, less important items can wait until a later time to tackle.
Concerning the scope of the improvements and the way those are approached, there is a range of solutions and price points to achieve relatively similar results. People comfortable with a higher budget can choose one type of design, and those on a more modest or limited budget can select another. This is when knowing a variety of products is beneficial. Having designers and others as team members 0 if that is not out specialty – is extremely helpful also and a strong way to serve our clients.
Just as we do with any project that we envision, we start with what we want to accomplish or what we think ould be helpful to our clients. We examine their budget with them and determine what really is a realistic spending approach – high, low, or in the middle. Because of our experience in this field – or along with our strategic partners if their experience is more extensive than ours – we can suggest and create something appropriate for our clients.
Take building a table as an example. This illustrates how something we all are familiar with can be in many different ways to achieve the same basic result and look. A very simple and quite inexpensive approach (that many of us likely have done in college or our first apartment) is to take a few boards, a piece of plywood, or a door and stretch it across a couple of supports – legs, blocks, cleats attached to a wall, or some other type of device for supporting the top. A more elaborate approach would be to craft one from laminates, and a still higher end would be to fashion on from hardwoods. Any of these can be any length and width to suit the needs of the client and the size of the space it is going into. This just illustrates how a similar item can be done in multiple ways, at various price points and material quality, to achieve or accommodate the budget the client has available.
The best thing about aging in place renovations is that they can be as simple as just a treatment or two or as extensive as several items, even with technology components. They also can extend the range of someone’s budgetary needs to almost no out-of-pocket expense to a six-figure expenditure, spending on the home, their income, and how they want the work accomplished. There is tremendous latitude for personal expression and accommodation.