Doing more than what is required for success
When we evaluate a home requiring improvements for safety, accessibility, comfort, or convenience, we often tend to apply an approach of dealing with a disability or meeting various regulations rather than a more practical one that just addresses what we see in front of us. We look for rules or standards that we can employ because they are commonly used or recommended rather than adjusting for the individual needs of that home or its occupants.
More than anything, aging in place is individual, and the solutions we employ to facilitate that must be individually tailored and offered as well.
When we have a template approach – overlaying a series of improvements that are good ideas but may not match the individual requirements or budget of a specific client – we risk overdesigning or overtreating a situation when a much simpler, less expensive approach may be what is called for or desired.
Keep it simple
Some people will have larger budgets than others, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily want or need an extravagant design. Often, simple is better, quicker, and less expensive.
Envisioning and creating improvements that are innovative and effective to match the physical and emotional needs of the client, the physical characteristic of their home, their lifestyle needs, and their budget is how we distinguish ourselves in the marketplace. We are looking to approach our assignment in a different way than other contractors, remodelers, or designers.
In any situation, there likely are multiple ways of approaching it and creating effective outcomes. That is our challenge – to use the client’s financial resources the most efficiently and minimize the amount of time it takes to get in and get out with a completed solution for them.
Each setting is different
Not only is each individual that we are going to encounter different with various needs, abilities, and interests, their homes are going to vary tremendously also. Some of them will be in excellent condition even if they are several years old. Others will show their wear and tear more obviously, again regardless of age.
Because our housing stock (locally, regionally, nationally, or even internationally) is an accumulation of construction done over the years to address multiple price points, user demand, climate and soil issues, architectural styles, and building codes and materials applicable at the time they were built, there obviously cannot be any type of standardized approach to creating effective solutions for people wanting to age in place. Each solution will vary, from a little to quite a bit.
We must focus on the individual first and then their home. What is it that they would like to do or need to do that their home is keeping them from performing or doing as well, easily, or safely as they would like? Answering that question, or series of questions, will give us what we need to get started on a recommended path of renovation.
Multiple ways of creating similar outcomes
Depending on someone’s individual needs and desires, coupled with the physical parameters of their home, we have multiple ways of suggesting and then implementing improvements – from very simple, inexpensive ones to more elaborate solutions.
The important thing to remember, both in building a reputation for ourselves and in serving our clients effectively, is that are multiple ways of creating improvements that will work for the client. Some are going to be more expensive than others. Some will be more noticeable than others.
We can create minimalistic changes if we like or go for the more obvious ones as our clients desire and as we suggest them. Often clients will appreciate that they can enhance their safety and mobility in their home without a lot of large-scale or expensive changes. This isn’t always the case, but when it is, let’s be open to how we can create it. This will open the possibilities for referrals also.
Faced with a few different ways of approaching an issue and creating a safe, acceptable outcome, we have multiple choices to offer our clients, including simple, relatively inexpensive ones that can be done more quickly so they can get on with their lives with the solutions and help they were seeking.