“There Are No Rules For Aging In Place, Only Guidelines”

Rules govern our lives with some fairly rigid while others allow more liberties in how we interpret and apply them, but they provide structure for our lives – aging in place treatments revolve around safety and not rules.

We like rules

When we begin to drive and study for our driver’s license, we learn the rules of the road. These apply to everyone. That’s what rules are – they don’t allow for us to decide which ones to follow.

When we bowl, golf, or play baseball or softball, there are rules to learn and observe. Even newer pursuits like pickelball and cornhole have rules.

Without rules that govern the activity and our behavior toward engaging in that pursuit, we would not have a solid foundation. For instance, are we supposed to stop at every octagonal red sign that we see or just the ones where someone else is approaching from another direction? Without rules, how do we know when someone scores in an athletic contest and who the winner is?

There are many more examples, but the point is that life depends on rules and the way we observe or follow them. Even families and offices have rules.

How do we know if we have succeeded?

In sports, we know we have won the contest if we have followed the rules and the score at the end shows an advantage in our favor.

Without rules or objectives, it can be a little trickier to know if we have been successful. We may feel good about how we have performed, but we require some type of validation. A winning score does that.

So why aren’t there rules for aging in place? For the simple fact that no two people, no two dwellings, or no set of circumstances are identical. We all are different with varying needs and abilities – and ones that change over time as well.

We can adopt best practices and include improvements for our clients that generally will help them to be safer in the home or to have more access. But there are no rules to follow per se, and no inspections generally.

In short, we will know that we have been successful if our clients like what we are proposing and indicate that their lives have been enhanced with the changes we have made or are recommending.

Ultimately, the client is the judge

Rather than trying to comply with a set of rules that may or may not actually relate to the client’s needs, we should let them tell us what they need or what their concerns are so that we can suggest a solution.

When the client is happy – and safer – with our suggested improvement – from simple and inexpensive to more elaborate – we should put that in the win column. If there had been a set of rules to follow, and we had done so, we still might not have addressed their particular needs because each person is different with varying requirements that can change over time as well.

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