“Working With Procrastinators To Uncover Their Aging In Place Needs”

Reclining and relaxing on the porch, content with life the way it is but not thinking of making any changes

Often we have an opportunity to work with people who are very receptive to making changes in their homes as they look to improve their general safety and ability to function well in their homes. This makes our work even more rewarding and enjoyable. People who have a specific medical need that they want to be addressed fit this category also and appreciate what we can do to assist them.

However, what about helping or attempting to work with people who don’t think they need many changes in their home (or even none) to facilitate their use of it, or they aren’t that receptive to any outside assistance? What about those who don’t have a very large budget and are using this excuse to defer making any changes to their home or even seriously discussing it?

Depending on how we frame our business model, we may or may not we may be interested in working with people in reasonably good health that could benefit from a few safety improvements or upgrades in their homes but aren’t very inclined to want to have any work done. It’s not the idea that we can help them or that we aren’t qualified to do so because we know that we can, but it’s just the concept of attempting to work with someone who could benefit from a few changes that doesn’t seem to want any work done in their home.

People could be reluctant to consider health and wellness improvements in their home that could benefit them or even increase the value of their home for a variety of reasons including not wanting to spend any money (even though they may have it to spend), not wanting the disruption in their routine that the renovations would require, or just leaving things as they are and continuing forward. They don’t detect any obvious needs, so they are good to go as far as they are concerned.

So, how do we go about serving a significant portion of the marketplace – procrastinators mostly – who could benefit from improvements but aren’t inclined to see their homes from the same perspective that we do? Do we ignore them and focus on the higher priority potential clients and the ones who are more appreciative of the work we can do for them? Do we forge ahead and do what we can for people who may be denying that anything we can offer them will actually help them in their homes?

This can be a significant dilemma for us. On the one hand, we have plenty of work to do just serving people referred to us from healthcare professionals and medical facilities as well as others in our network. Is there really any room in our schedule – although there unquestionably is a need – for us to work with people who really don’t favor having any work done? Why fight it? Wait for them to be ready and come to us at that time rather than trying to convince them that they can benefit from improvements we can make.

In addition to the procrastinators – the people who are denying that they need anything done, those who are ignoring the potential affects of aging on their mobility or sensory abilities, or people who are indifferent to having any improvements made in their homes because they think that everything is fine the way it is – there is another group of people who don’t desire very much work to be done in their homes but are receptive to talking with us. In fact, they may take the initial step and contact us about a small project they have in mind.

The point is that there are many people who could benefit from having some work done in their homes – even if just to help them and their guests get in and out of their home more easily and safely – who maybe have never considered it. They may feel that home modifications are a large undertaking with a sizeable expenditure required as well. They may not appreciate that a little work may be all that they need to make their homes so much better for them. Of course, more major improvements could be required as well.

Getting procrastinators to listen to us or to even speak with us at all is a challenge because they don’t perceive that they need any help. Therefore, being ready to discuss a few safety issues that they are not directly responsible for can help to get the conversation started. Loose rugs, extension cords across a walkway, and clutter are things they are responsible for having created or allowed to remain. We will steer clear of such issues.

However, such features as steps leading up to the front door, a narrow front door, or inadequate lighting at the front door are related to the design of the home and do not reflect on them personally. They could be receptive to discussing such issues – particularly when they admit that their guests are affected by these conditions.

Share with your friend and colleagues!