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Unsure How to Hire the Right Contractor? Follow This Tip. . .

Contractor kneeling on ground working. Photo by Unsplash

Contractor kneeling on ground working. Photo by Unsplash

At some point in your adult life, you’ve hired some type of home building professional, like a contractor or handy man (or handy woman). Based off of that experience, you have a story to tell. Maybe you liked their work and you’ll use their services again in the future. Maybe you didn’t like that person at all.

It definitely is a personal experience when someone comes into your sacred domain of a home. You want a home building professional to know what they’re doing off the bat.

I’m going to tell you a secret about home building professionals that’s bad for their business: they don’t know everything that’s best for you.

Now, I hope this doesn’t come across as whiny or in poor taste, but I need to share my experiences surrounding home building professionals and home modifications, AKA changes in the home.

And it’s not their fault entirely; home building professionals don’t have the same training as I do. Just like I don’t have the training to hit a nail with a hammer!

The thing is home building professionals are not aware that they make mistakes in their projects in your home. They’re not cognizant that occupational therapists can make their work even better and more tailored to your needs.

I’ve wanted to talk about this for a long time and hesitated just because I don’t want it to seem like I’m placing blame anywhere. Overall, I want to familiarize my audience on this issue because you will come to a time where you need both an occupational therapist, like me, and a home building professional to serve your home.

First let me say that my training as an occupational therapist gives me a unique perspective when I work with people. (To learn more about occupational therapy, click here). When I come to your house, I’m looking at you through a variety of lenses. You show me your physical abilities and tell me your medical history. I consider how your motor and sensory skills are working together. You tell me about your daily routine and show me how you move around the home. I think about your different roles and the demands you have in your life. Plus so much more!

My daily routine includes making the most important meal of the day, breakfast. What’s your routine? White and brown kitchen with center island, stools, and items sitting on counters. Photo by Unsplash

My daily routine includes making the most important meal of the day, breakfast. What’s your routine? White and brown kitchen with center island, stools, and items sitting on counters. Photo by Unsplash

In a nutshell, I change your home so you can keep doing what you need to do every day.

Side note: I don’t change you. It’s not possible and why would I ever want to do that?

If you have a chronic condition or certain medical diagnosis, like Parkinson’s, contractors don’t automatically anticipate your needs. You tell them your current problem and they fix it right then and there with the knowledge that they have. Oftentimes, the changes contractors make in your home are shortsighted or are inappropriate for what you really need.

I’ve walked into a lot of homes where the contractor completed misguided work by placing grab bars in the wrong spot, not extending handrails past the last step, not widening doorways, or forgetting to add lighting above a shower during a bathroom remodel. It breaks my heart to see clients pay for work that they can’t use without some level of difficulty. Those situations could’ve been avoided by including an occupational therapist.

Personally, when I’ve spoken with certain contractors, they’ll tell me everything they know about making things “handicap accessible” or “ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) friendly” for clients in their own home. I educate these contractors by telling them there is no formula for home modifications; they need to be made specific for the individual person, since we all have different requirements.

And buddy, you don’t need ADA in the home. ADA is only for public places!

I’ve also had two experiences with contractors who didn’t want to talk to me whatsoever during a bid with the client. The contractors completely ignored me even when I directly asked them questions about the home or what they thought about an idea I suggested. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that situation. I’m not one to take things personally. Today, I choose to believe that the contractors just didn’t know what to make of me or how to include me in their normal bid process.

It certainly felt awkward!

On a personal and professional level, I’m used to collaborating with other professions. In skilled nursing facilities, I collaborate with nursing staff, dietary, physical therapy, speech therapy, nurse practitioners, doctors, and social workers, medicare coordinators to name a few. I know it’s possible to do the same with home building professionals!

Hands grouped together with red paint to form a heart. Photo by Unsplash

Hands grouped together with red paint to form a heart. Photo by Unsplash

Don’t get me wrong, there are contractors I work with right now who are very collaborative. We kick butt and our clients LOVE our finished product! It makes me so happy when I get a repeat call from a client who still raves about the work we did last time

When occupational therapists and contractors work together, you get a high quality project that’s tailored for you and your lifestyle. You benefit from hiring professionals who want to collaborate with each other to make your home a forever home.

When you’re considering your next home project, think twice about the people you’re hiring to do the job. Does your contractor seem hesitant to work with an occupational therapist? If so, does the contractor state his/her reasoning? Should you hire someone who is resisting the idea to make your home modifications the best they possibly could be?

Or do you have the opposite situation where your contractor is willing and looks forward to working with an occupational therapist?

No matter how small the job, involve an occupational therapist! We wear our hearts on our sleeves and will bring up concerns that no one else will! Research shows we help people stay happy and safe in their forever home through modifications.

I can’t do my job without a contractor, and they can’t do a great job without me! You need both us to live at home for a lifetime. Share your contractor experiences and what you would do to change it in the future!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!