Autonomy is the key to aging in place- and a concern of many seniors. Pay attention to issues surrounding and preventing autonomy, like accessibility, during the month of February, aptly named National Senior Independence Month. When obstacles can be reduced with simple solutions, like stairlifts, seniors can live more independent lives.
Is there someone in your family- or yourself- that live with accessibility issues? These limitations can impact overall independence and autonomy. February is National Senior Independence Month, which makes it the perfect time to promote healthy living, caregiving and exercise- components directly related to quality of life. Improve access, glean independence, and support autonomy with mobility equipment, like stairlifts, today.
Challenges and Risks
The real challenge for individuals with physical limitations or disabilities is the risk of sustaining an injury through a fall. Falls impact one out of every three seniors annually- and it is the leading cause of accidental death in this demographic. It would be shortsighted to discuss autonomy without mentioning falls, as so many people have their independence compromised and limited due to a nasty fall.
According to the CDC, here are some things that consumers should know:
- Around 20% of falls cause serious injury, i.e. a head injury.
- Around 300,000 seniors endure a fractured hip each year.
- Approximately three million adults over age 65 are seen in the ER for falls and subsequent injuries.
- Head injuries and hip fractures are the most common injury related to falls.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most commonly caused by a fall.
It is further estimated that falls cost approximately $30 billion dollars each year, with hospital costs eating up around two-thirds.
Autonomy and Independence
When asking older adults about their priorities, autonomy is a common response. Freedom to age in place, as one wishes, is something verbalized and shared by seniors widely. This includes living in their own home environment for as long as possible. Accessibility can compromise this, usually due to physical disabilities or limitations that can impact the ability to complete activities of daily live independently. Stairlifts are just one means of increasing access, often allowing the user to remain in their own home longer. There are numerous other mobility aids that can curb the risk of a fall and enhance access around the home that are well worth exploring. These may prevent issues that jeopardize quality of life for someone that you love.
Certainly, aging in place does carry some hazards and potential risks. But, what are the actual benefits versus risks for seniors that want to age in place and stay in their own home? Well, for one the sheer sense of purpose and freedom can be well worth the potential risk of an injury. Mitigating the risks with a stairlift can prevent tumbles on stairs or steps, while also providing the user with the convenience of accessing upper levels or second floors of their home.
Another way to curb potential problems is to realize that self-reliance often involves a network- a network of supportive neighbors, family, friends, and area resources that come together to provide what is needed. From checking in by a next-door neighbor to meals-on-wheels and communal rides to appointments, these provisions can fill in as needed while still honoring the autonomy and supporting the independence of the senior.
It bears mentioning that the whole point of aging in place and autonomy is to live life on one’s own terms; for that matter, it means honoring the wishes of the individual, and not pressure them into your own perceived idea of how life should be. Respecting the senior’s wishes and supporting their choices might be tough for well-meaning caregivers but is necessary for the senior’s quality of life and independence- as long as their behaviors are not harmful to themselves or others.
Stairlifts and Accessibility
If you provide care for someone with accessibility issues, consider the following reasons to explore a stairlift in the home:
- Stairlifts can be installed both indoors and out.
- Stairlifts can be customized and fitted for curved, spiral, and other unique stairway designs; talk to a retailer to learn more.
- Many consumers express concern that a stairlift will interfere with those that use the stairs and that do not need the lift- not true. Lifts are discreet and are easy to circumvent.
- Talk to a mobility aids retailer to see mobility solutions as well as discuss costs. In many instances, the cost is covered or curbed by insurance carriers.
Learn more about accessibility with mobility aids and solutions from Pacific Mobility. For years, the team of mobility professionals at Pacific Mobility have been improving quality of life and increasing autonomy; call or visit to discover your options.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)