Aging-in-place design sounds like a no-brainer. So, how do we make our home owner clients receptive to this issue? Here are some suggestions:
- Tell first-hand stories — in person, through marketing brochures or special flyers and on your Web site.
Tell your baby boomer clients — who may not be tuned into the fact that they are getting older themselves — about difficulties your parents, friends or relatives have experienced and about how changes were made to their homes to make them more livable; include the cost. Make a point about how these design ideas can apply to people in their 30s or 40s who break a leg in a skiing or car accident and suddenly discover they can’t get around their home.
Be sure to include photos of active, healthy seniors and their testimonials in your marketing materials. Include this material on your company's Web site as well.
Let your clients know that they are joining a growing movement. Point out that all of the nice hotels now have grab bars because it makes good common sense to ensure the safety of their guests. Then turn your discussions to why installing blocking behind tiles in bathroom walls or adding lever doors and faucet handles constitute good planning for the future.
Mention that universal design ideas make the home safer and user-friendly for younger family members, too. Examples include lower light switches, higher outlets and higher dishwashers. Kids also appreciate having a grab bar handy in the tub.
Use construction photographs of beautiful products to prove to your clients that accessible hardware doesn't have to be clunky and institutional looking.
I hope that these tips will help you sell aging-in-place and universal design elements in all of your projects. Educate your clients about how much sweeter life can be when their home is designed for aging in place.
Dan Bawden, CGR, CAPS, JD is president of Legal Eagle Contractors in Houston. He is the chair of the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist Board of Governors.
University of Housing Offers CAPS Designation Courses
The NAHB University of Housing offers the Certified Aging-In-Place Designation (CAPS), which teaches the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to competing in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-in-place. For more information on this designation program, click here.
BuilderBooks.com Has Publications About Remodeling
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of remodeling publications online. To view or purchase these publications, click here.
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