This past Saturday was national Make a Difference Day, where millions of Americans participate in many acts of kindness. Whether it was community cleanups, neighborhood painting or even acts as small as buying someones coffee or giving a stranger a compliment; what matters the most is that people participate in making a difference in someone else’s life. Sometimes, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to make a difference in someone else’s life.
In the work that we do, we try to make a difference everyday, and making a difference can come in all forms. Whether we are suggesting a bathroom or kitchen remodel to support the changing needs of our clients, a home safety inspection along with some easy to implement home modifications, or helping a client celebrate their birthday with a cupcake and candles, we know how interior design with a focus on accessibility and safety can make a difference by providing safety and peace of mind. One of our clients shared a personal story that encompassed compassion, support, and an eager willingness to help someone she loves.
The conversation with our client began by her explaining her interior design goals for the project. She had recently moved and downsized, but with a busy career she had not been able to prioritize herself, and create the home environment she desired and that made her feel happy to come home to at the end of the day. The conversation then took a turn and she explained that her 88 year old mother was living with her. She shared the struggle her mother had when facing the reality that she wasn't able to live on her own any longer. Her mom was persistent that she didn't need assistance, and she didn't want to live her days in the nursing home. With few siblings in the picture, our client was the only one to step up to the plate and volunteer to have her mom move in with her family. This selfless act can be a difficult one.
Our discussion quickly shifted to talking about not only what our client’s needs were, but to discuss how our design suggestions would be modified to best accommodate the needs of her mother as well. In addition to caring for her mother, she also mentioned that she is the “one” in her family to entertain and hold the family gatherings, and that many of her family members were elderly. Allowing for her mother to “age in place” at her home will mean adjusting her own home lifestyle and environment to best support not only her mother, but the family, as well as all visitors. We finished the conversation talking about her goals for her personal space, but ensuring that the proper living conditions were in order for her mother. Such as completing a home safety evaluation, creating a first-floor bedroom, securing all rugs, and installing proper lighting throughout the house. This eye-opening experience has educated her on the importance of maintaining a safe home, not only for her mother but for the rest of her own family too. Her simple act of kindness by creating a safe home for her mother and her family will really make a difference.
This story is just one of many acts of kindness that happen daily. It doesn’t need to be a national day to help someone in need. So although this day has passed, take some time to make a change in your neighborhood or in your family; big or small! We like to think we make a difference everyday, by helping others live safely and comfortably in their homes!