Assessing the opportunities
We know that people want to age in place at home. This trend has been in evidence for many years but now is mainstream. AARP reports that some three-fourths of people over 50 and over nine-in-ten people over 65 want to remain in their present homes indefinitely. It is a definite force in the discussion of aging.
As such, there are going to be issues to address. Just as our tastes, desires, and preferences change over the years for what we like to eat (or what our systems will tolerate), the music or TV programs we like, movies or actors that we want to watch, maybe sports teams or the actual sporting contests we follow, types of books we like to read, or colors that appeal to us – not to mention clothing styles – our physical requirements in our homes will change. What worked a few years ago may not work so well now in terms of access, ease of use, function, or visual appeal. Our senses change as well in how well we might see, hear, or maintain our balance and coordination.
Therefore, the number of people who are aging in place and the amount of living spaces that could use our help are essentially limitless. Not everyone will want to engage our services, but the opportunity clearly is present, and everyone who hasn’t done so recently can take advantage of our services.
How we participate
We have a few ways that we can participate in the aging in place services market. We can create a services business, market a product, create improvements for our clients, or work with a company that provides such services. For more information on ideas that we might want to pursue or incorporate into our aging in place services businesses, the “Beyond Your CAPS” class is available.
So, do we start our own business, or do we look for employment with a company that is open to providing such products or services or already is doing so? This depends on our needs and how we feel about creating and running a new business. Maybe a business that we would prefer to align ourselves with and seek employment there does not exist in our market or is not easily identified. Maybe they are not open to adding employees or independent contractors to work with them.
Taking that next (or first) step
So, we know that we want to provide aging in place services of some type. We know that the market is vast, and growing. Therefore, there is enormous potential. How do we get in on the action? How do we begin, or how do we grow our business?
Having your CAPS (Certified Aging In Place Specialist) designation is a great beginning. It won’t automatically open any doors, but it may allow the people behind those doors to be more receptive to you. If you don’t already possess this training, please find time to make it happen – as a three consecutive day opportunity or spread out over three days of your choosing.
The CAPS program prepares you for what comes next, even if you already have been providing renovations or other services for older homes or those aging in place.
You will learn about some of the issues, needs, products, and solutions that apply to those wanting to age in place.
Creating a business model
Remember that every person is an individual with varying needs, abilities, and financial means. There are many people that we can serve – in fact, too many for us to work with on our own. Therefore, we must decide, of all the possibilities that exist – age of housing, condition of it, type of structure, and age of the neighborhood, for instance – whom we want to target for our message and specifically what services we would like to feature. We can’t be all things to all people and be effective or profitable.
Get specific. Determine what you are good at doing, what you enjoy offering, how you feel you can be a help to those requiring renovation services or solutions, and whether you can do this alone or want to work with strategic partners or seek employment with a company that already does this.
Regardless of how we begin, or if we already have a business but want to grow it, we need to be sensitive to the needs of our marketplace and understand how to connect with the people we want to serve or those who can make the introductions on our behalf.
Then, we need to reach out and make those connections. Business won’t come our way just because we have made a few phone calls or sent some emails. We must develop those relationships so that people will know what we offer and that we are quite interested in helping them or the clients they serve.