It’s hard to tell what’s needed
Most of the homes that we see from the outside don’t show any warning signs of issues going on inside that might be affecting a person’s mobility, access, comfort, or safety. We drive by wondering what might be going on inside that we could offer some assistance in resolving, but until we are requested to do something, all we can do is wonder how well things are going.
Unlike some things which visually show their age by the way they are used or their relative condition, the insides of home don’t give us any outward clues – how could they? They are inside.
Clothing that is worn thin or torn from excessive use, shoes that are scuffed or worn out on the bottom, cars that are dented, or signs with paint or lettering peeling or fading are clear outward indications of a need to replace, repair, or upgrade what we are seeing – at least from our perspective.
Everyone’s needs are different
Just as every house we drive past is going to look a little different – even in a neighborhood designed and built by the same company at essentially the same time – the occupants inside those walls are going to have varied needs as well. On the outside, trim and roof colors (when the builder has not created everything to look the same), landscaping, general maintenance and upkeep, cars parked in the driveway, lawn accents, and other features help to separate and differentiate a home from its neighbors – either consciously or just what happens over time.
With that being true on the outside, from often identically looking exteriors, it’s much different on the inside. People of varying ages, abilities, lifestyles, desires, needs, and interests reside there, along with their color, furniture, and accessory choices. Likely no two homes anywhere are used exactly the same on the inside, from the way they are decorated and used to the individual requirements and abilities of the occupants.
Therefore, we can’t make any assumptions about what people might need on the inside except in observing the relative age and condition of the specific home we are viewing or those in that neighborhood – based on when and how they were built, what they likely had included in terms of interior features (unless those have been modified since), and the general maintenance and condition that we observe.
People need our help
We know that as people age they require various types of assistance and modifications within their homes to remain safe and comfortable. This is even more true for those with a specific physical limitation that may be unrelated to their age.
Unfortunately, we can’t know what people need to remain safe and comfortable inside their homes or what modifications might be necessary to improve their mobility and access within their dwelling. That is, without them telling us about what they need. They need to take the first step. We need to be available and let people know what we offer. Then, it is up to them to seek us and contact us – so we can begin to help them.
This is one of the challenges of providing aging in place renovations, and one of the great aspects of it as well. People need our help, but there is no universal prescription that we can apply. People will differing forms and degrees of what we create and offer them. There is no way we can assertive. We must be invited to talk with them and requested to help.
Some people are going to be more inclined to talk with us than others
Even though many people, if not most of them, are going to require changes, updates, and safety improvements in their homes due to the way they are aging and the actual construction issues inside their homes that they cannot control, only some of them are going to recognize the need for our services and reach out to us. Welcome it. Don’t worry about the others – at least not yet.
There are many people for us to begin working with who have come to recognize that their balance, reach, eyesight, stamina, coordination, hearing, grip, strength, and other physical and sensory aspects of their lives are not what they have been and that they require assistance in using their homes or an easier way of doing customary activities.
There will be others we can help over time, but we can begin with those who initially reach out to us for our assistance.