It is impossible to predict when and if the need for mobility aids will arise; after all, when realization strikes, it could be the time to improve accessibility and safety around the home. So, at what age should mobility aids be in the home? That depends on several factors, which makes an ounce of prevention invaluable when it comes to enhancing and upgrading the living situation for access, convenience, and independence.
When it comes to accessibility and autonomy, at what age should mobility aids be implemented in the home? Since it is not possibly to predict what may or may not occur, it makes the most sense to assess your current health and physical condition: do you have physical limitations or chronic health conditions? This could be a contributing factor that makes preplanning for aging in place not just viable, but vital. Part of this includes the potential of integrating mobility aids into the home environment to preserve independence and safety, as well.
Factors that Compromise Mobility
There are many factors that compromise your mobility as well as future physical needs- even if you are unaware of these at the current time. For instance, what is your health history like? Do you have chronic conditions that could impact mobility later in life? Also, genetics can play a role as we age. If your parents had issues or conditions that affected their physical health when they got older, there is a chance that you may be susceptible to these same conditions.
Furthermore, lifestyles and habits are factors in mobility issues. If you smoke, you are more prone to smoking-related health issues like COPD and asthma. If you have suffered serious injury or major surgery, you may require rehabilitation that compromises your mobility- even if it is temporarily. There are numerous factors that may indicate changes around the home make sense for access and safety.
Preplanning your Accessibility Needs
So, how do you preplan what your accessibility needs will be? Well, in some instances, it requires taking a hard look at the home environment and identifying any potential obstacles or challenges proactively. Think about it in terms of getting around the living situation and completing ADLs, or activities of daily living. Some ADLs include:
If the current configuration of the home interferes with these basic everyday tasks, it can impact the individual’s autonomy- make changes that make sense over time. From installing grab bars near the toilet to converting a downstairs room into your bedroom, there are changes that can be made now to help later-on.
While building or constructing ramps to access your entrance or door may not be feasible at this time, it does seem sensible to invest in portable ramps for easy entry- as well as a convenient way to ensure access wherever you go. These can be folded and packed up to be kept in a vehicle, too. The price point makes them a popular choice among consumers widely.
Ways to Move Forward
The best way to move forward is to speak with a qualified mobility professional. They should offer you an idea of what is available, what is covered by your distinct insurances, and provide demonstrations or information, as needed. Next, let them discuss a needs assessment with you to find exactly what mobility aids and equipment makes the most sense. From here, you can survey your buying options and narrow it down to what you do- or do not- want. Set up an appointment schedule with the vendor for support and service of your equipment, if applicable.
Regardless of how you choose to move forward and proceed with enhancing mobility and access in the home, always maintain safety first. That is, make upgrades that are within the safety guidelines put forth by the ADA, and always hire qualified professionals for these augmentations. When buying mobility aids and devices, it can be unwise, even dangerous to purchase second-hand equipment from unlicensed sellers. Buy mobility aids from reputable professionals that provide installation, technical support, and service or repairs, as needed. These modifications and enhancements are investments in your home- as well as in your own autonomy as you age.
Keep these points in-mind when considering ways of improving or upgrading the home. Many of these features will not only benefit you- but the whole family during various stages of life. From rehab after a hospital stay to ease when moving in or out of the home, many accessibility enhancements make everyday life easier for the entire household.
So, are you ready to make changes around the home to improve access and safety? You are never too young or too healthy to begin thinking about ways of improving access around the home. From ramps and lifts to grab bars and railings, a professional at Pacific Mobility can assist and provide you with the information needed to make prudent, practical decisions. Call to learn more.
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)