Aging in place can be a conscious decision
Aging in place can happen in a couple of different ways although there are essentially limitless ways of creating design solutions and applications for people to remain in their homes effectively. One way that aging in place can happen is for people to acknowledge that they are aging in place and that their home is the place they want to remain. This is a conscious, declarative decision although it does not need to be one that is publicly shared.
As people make the decision that their current home is the one they prefer to remain living in and that it meets their emotional needs as well as their physical ones, they may contact us, as aging in place specialists, to determine how their homes can serve them even better by assessing what features might need to be improved, augmented, added, or eliminated to make their living space more comfortable and specific for them.
Aging in place need not be a conscious decision
The second way that aging in place happens with people is that it just does. They don’t get in the way or do anything to stop it. People may not consciously admit that they like their home or that they want to remain in it, but they may never do or say anything that suggests otherwise either. Consequently, we can’t help them because they have not formally and openly committed to remaining in their home.
It is difficult to pinpoint changes that might be necessary in an undeclared aging in place environment since the occupants will not have declared that this dwelling is their long-term home. In the event they notice things that are troublesome to them, we can help alleviate such issues, but there is little opportunity for a comprehensive analysis or assessment of their space without a willingness on their part for this to occur.
Being available to help people
One thing is clear. Regardless of how we approach or interact with potential new clients, we must distinguish ourselves in the marketplace. We must allow people to notice and appreciate us for what we offer and to be a clear choice over the many other aging in place professionals that might be present in our marketplace.
People that provide various aging in place products, services, or solutions – remodelers, general contractors, designers (interior and kitchen or bath), occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists (PTs), case managers, durable medical equipment providers (DMEs) and mobility equipment specialists, assistive technology specialists, trade contractors (carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, among many others), suppliers (doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, lighting, flooring, cabinets, counters, and hardware), and many other specialties working with various design components within the home – are numerous and growing all the time. Therefore, we need to be noticeable as different. Having the Certified Aging In Place Specialist designation is one such way to do this – along with the skills, additional credentials, and reputation to go along.
There could be other CAPS professionals in our marketplace, so we need to convey to the client why we are a good fit for them and worthy of them selecting us to assist them.
Being available and standing out in our marketplace
Having a good professional services delivery team is extremely important. This will translate into additional power and reputation when we engage potential clients. Rather than just having our abilities – however solid those might be – we can bring alongside ourselves a large professional complement to strengthen the quality of what we offer – regardless of whether we have a construction, design, healthcare, or other background that allows us to conduct our part of the work scope, we need the skills we don’t have from others to be that much more effective and to assist the client in a way that no one else in the marketplace is prepared to do.
Wherever we are in our strategic process of deciding on new business to approach, an expansion of the geographical area we serve, the types of projects we want to undertake, or our average price point – as well as when (on the calendar) we want this to go into effect, we can make a huge impact on the marketplace, the clients we intend to serve, our bottom line, the people we employ or use as subcontractors, and the businesses we partner with strategically to get the job done.
Making the commitment to help
There is no time like the present. Whether it the first of the week, the beginning of the month, a new quarter, or the start of a new year, we can hit the marketplace with an approach that they haven’t seen previously and one that will create a very positive experience for all concerned – clients, professionals, media, and observers.
Whether people want to age in place because they have told us so and admitted it to themselves as well, or they are resigned to living where they are without making any formal statements about aging in place, we can provide a comprehensive solution – as large or compact as their budget, needs, and requirements suggest.