September 20, 2017

CAPS – Certified Aging In Place Specialist

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Hooray! I am a CAPS graduate. What’s so different? Through manuals, instruction, discussion and testing, I added to my knowledge (even me, Mr. know-it-all). And, I am very excited.

CAPS is an acronym for Certified Aging In Place Specialist. It is a three-day training and certification course offered by NAHB, National Association of Home Builders. One day is devoted to general business management for builders; the other two days provide aging-in-place training in both marketing and communication strategies and design-and-build solutions.

The courses are great and I doubt that anyone walked away not having expanded their knowledge and added to their skills. The manuals are tight; they successfully condense an enormous amount of information into a well-conceived order that is easy to follow and to reference. I’ve seen week-long seminars fail to accomplish what these manuals do in 100 pages. The instructors skillfully navigate you through the material providing an overview powerful enough to help you get the details when you need them. Participant discussions add to the richness of the material bringing specialized and current knowledge.

However, NAHB is shooting a bit off-center with the certification requirements. Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the material taught over the three days had nothing to do with aging-in-place; there was lots of basic business management and marketing. Why? It doesn’t serve the participant who gives up three days in the field for a specific training they are counting on to give their business a competitive edge.

I regretted the missed opportunity of a full three days on topic, the opportunity to be more thorough as we worked through the course materials, and the opportunity of discussion with participants who possessed much practical experience in a variety of related fields. I also was disappointed not to gain any insights on how to partner with local government on aging-in-place incentives.

I humbly suggest that NAHB removes the day-long business management requirement from their CAPS training; it’s useful, but not relevant. On the remaining two days, focus even more directly on only that which is specific to aging-in-place removing any non-specific material. Assume that participants have competence in the general management and marketing of their businesses, not that they don’t.

Great course and timely material; most construction will be remodeling as baby boomers adapt their homes to maintain the active lifestyle that has marked their generation.

My appreciation to the Builders League of South Jersey for such a fantastic job hosting the course and making us feel so welcome and cared for.

Konrad Kaletsch
Universal Design Resource
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