“A Cafeteria Approach To Aging In Place Improvements”

Whether it’s a fast-food counter, a drive-up window, or a cafeteria line (or sometimes a restaurant), we make choices from what we see as available options, as we do with aging in place improvements we might want.

Surveying the choices

All of us have eaten in a cafeteria or been to a fast-food establishment. Sometimes we chose that place to eat because we like their cuisine, sometimes because they offered a varied menu where we can get what seems to appeal to us at that moment, and sometimes we just go for what is quick.

Even with sit-down dining restaurants, with a printed menu and at-table service, we still get choices of side dishes, desserts, appetizers, and the entre. We can offer special instructions on how we might like the food prepared and request substitutions also.

Some restaurants have pages and pages of menu options, some have a single-sided sheet, and some have us order with a number for the few offerings they provide.

Cafeterias appeal to us

Sometimes we just want to pick up a tray, go through a line, and put on our tray whatever entrees, sides, and desserts that look appealing to us. It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t demand too much decision-making. We are in essence getting to look at exactly what we are getting before we purchase it.

Normally, we would pick a food item to put on our tray that we are familiar with and that we like. If it’s a buffet, we can be a little more daring and try something new or not sure that we will like because we can always replace it with something else – and even get additional portions of the items we really enjoy.

Aging in place improvements are different

To remain safely and effectively in our homes, we don’t pick up a tray and move through a serving line to place the improvements available to us on our tray before moving to the checkout. It’s not that they may not be available this way – there are many websites, infomercials, and showrooms that display available products. It’s that we don’t have the experience with them to know what we need, why we need them, or in what quantity (one or more than one).

Unlike a favorite entree, vegetable, or dessert that we order in our favorite restaurant, fast food establishment, or cafeteria, we may not have any direct familiarity with the items we want to acquire. Perhaps we have never used a grab bar in our shower so we aren’t sure of what size, how many, or where we need one (or more than one). If we do have one now, however, do we need another one?

Aging in place improvements are a customized experience where everything, even though it may be a product that already exists, is selected specifically for us and then installed to meet our particular needs. It is not a mass-market approach where anyone can get what is available and simply use it, but a specific approach to meeting our needs or those of our clients for exactly what their space and abilities suggest.


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