As a Master Certified Instructor for the National Association of Homebuilders Certified Aging In Place Specialist (“CAPS”) program for well over a decade, I have met, gotten to know, and educated hundreds of remodeling contractors, custom builders, occupational therapists, physical therapists, mobility equipment specialists, insurance agents, non-profit organizations, senior services, governmental agencies groups, university faculty, real estate agents, interior designers, kitchen and bath designers, property managers, architects, engineers, installers, roofers, plumbers, lighting specialists, and so many other professions that work with people desiring to remain at home.
Irrespective of someone’s current physical or cognitive abilities, the type or age of the home they have now, the relative condition of it, how well it accommodates their needs, or their present numeric age, we are learning how to help anyone stay in their home more vibrantly and effectively over time with the goal of keeping them out of retirement facilities.
Until recently, this three-day training program was only available live and in-person, and I was a huge proponent of this delivery method due to the face-to-face interaction of the attendees, the exchange of information afforded by being next to each other, and the relationships built in this setting. I did not see how an online version would be beneficial, but I was mistaken.
Beginning at the end of April an experimental online format was introduced to temporarily replace the in-person programs. This is another instance where we have needed to modify what we do to accommodate changing behaviors and protocols as a result are the COVID-19 outbreak.
There have been many restrictions and guidelines on how many people can gather in a space – generally no more than ten, counting the staff members at the facility, general social distancing behavior (usually at least a six-foot separation). the need to wear face coverings, the concern about person-to-person contact, and a general desire to avoid touching or handling objects or surfaces that other people have touched.
Until further notice, this has rendered in-person classes totally ineffective, impractical, and undesirable. Even after this passes, online classes may be quite desirable as a way of taking the coursework.
With all that said, there are several reasons that people should embrace, desire, and want to attend a virtual or online version of the CAPS training. Here are eleven of them:
(1) There is no travel involved meaning that people from hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where the course is emanating, and even internationally, can attend as if it was being offered in their dining room,
(2) The fact that there is no travel means that there are no airline tickets to purchase or keep track of, no advanced check-in required prior to the flight, no packing or deciding what to take on the trip, no time allocated for getting to the airport at a reasonable time, no checking of bags, no standing in lines to pass through security, no waiting to board the plane, no traveling on the plane, and then no need of essentially repeating much of the process once landing – as well as when it’s time to return home,
(3) The fact that there is no travel also means that if someone is driving to the class rather than flying, that there is no wear and tear on their vehicle, gasoline to purchase, or concerns about driving and arriving at their destination safely – no need to leave hours in advance or to arrive back home several hours after the class has ended – totally exhausted from the drive,
(4) The fact that there is no travel means no hotels to find, book, pay for, and stay at – or meals and snacks to purchase while away from home,
(5) It also means there is no strange bed to sleep in or other adjustments to make one’s daily routine (other than attending the classes), including finding food or having someone look after the dog or younger children
(6) It means that the kitchen, bathroom, and other facilities that are necessary during the day are ones that are familiar – and that there is no waiting in line for someone else to finish what they are doing
(7) Having the classes taught in an online Zoom-type format means that each participant is essentially in the same room as the instructor even though no one has left their office, kitchen, dining room, living room, porch, or other places where they are using their computer or tablet,
(8) There is no concern about getting a good seat or a comfortable chair, being able to see and hear the presentation, having the temperature of the room too warm or cool, or having someone take up more than their share of the space at the table with what they brought with them to use
(9) There is no mask to put on and wear or concern for being too close to others during the class,
(10) There is the ability to arrive for class when it is ready to begin and not being concerned about allowing enough travel time or time to find a good (or inexpensive) parking space and any of the stress that accompanies that, and
(11) Best of all, the classroom information is presented in a very interactive way that is even better than an in-person format – not pre-recorded webinar to sit through or a slide series to watch but an actual live event with questions, comments, discussion, and interaction.
Definitely, taking the CAPS certification classes online makes sense for these, and even other, reasons. Visit my website for a schedule of upcoming dates and registration information. Take advantage of this while you can. It may not be available much longer.