Jack Werner (right and standing in inset photo below) teaches the Certified Aging in Place Specialist class for OSHBA members.
The popular Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) class that Jack Werner teaches to Oklahoma home builders leads to more than wider hallways and gripping bars. The class teaches perspective and empathy for the aging and the disabled, Werner said.
“Builders know all the functional aspects – how do I build a grab bar that is safe and attractive – but it’s communicating graciously with people and talking in their interests and lingo,” Werner said. “It’s communications. It’s marketing. It’s construction. It’s where to get all the information about how to build it beautifully and safely.”
Now in his fifth year of teaching the three-day CAPS class, Werner brought it to a group of OSHBA members in January. Class members gained first-hand perspective of what it takes for the disabled to maneuver around a home.
For instance, during the course, they roll from room to room in a wheelchair, wear dark sunglasses smeared with petroleum jelly to mimic macular degeneration and try to open doors while their hands grip a tennis ball and are covered with a sock.
“That’s one of the more fascinating, fun things about the course,” Werner said. “And, I think everybody would agree, it’s a lot more difficult than they anticipated.”
Werner owns and operates AtoZ Inspections in Oklahoma City, which provides residential and commercial building inspection services.
Retired from a 27-year career with John Hancock Financial Services before entering the inspection business, Werner got involved in the CAPS course after remodeling his own home to accommodate the needs of his wife after she endured a pair of hip replacement surgeries.
The CAPS course can have a life-changing impact for wounded military veterans, aging Oklahomans or others who have been disabled. Werner cites the example of two of his former CAPS class students who donated their time to retrofit the home a child who was left a quadriplegic after being wounded in an accidental shooting.
“That’s one of the best demonstrations of the impact of the CAPS course,” Werner said. “It’s the most exciting, most functional, most important course. You can put it to use immediately and it serves everyone.”