Mobility experts urge long term care planning to ensure access and autonomy for seniors, and to facilitate independent living as long as possible.
It has been indicated that the three biggest concerns of seniors are a loss of independence, decline in health, and exhaustion of resources, more specifically, money. Planning ahead can not only help ease these fears and worries, but also make life a lot simpler for those that you care about. It is never too soon to begin long term care planning, and waiting until you suffer a debilitating illness or disability could be too late. Think about your independence and how you will get around the home, to your appointments and live autonomously; mobility devices may play a significant role in your quality of life as you get older, so don’t forget to include this in your careful planning.
Mobility experts urge long term care planning; here’s what you can do now:
While no one knows what the future holds, there are a few things that you can do now in terms of preparing for long term care down the road. These are simple steps to ensure that you clarify and communicate your wishes, as well as implementing sensible strategies to get there. Some things that you can start doing today are:
The first and probably the most important thing that you can do right now is to make your wishes known. Engage in open communication with your family, friends, and caregivers to let others in on what you would want your life to be like if you were unable to live independently or if you were facing a debilitating illness. Talk candidly, and follow up with a written outline of your wishes, preferably notarized, to provide a clue and a reminder to loved ones of what your preferences are and will be – but more on that later.
Play devil’s advocate for a moment and look around your home. Does that railing look safe? How steep are those stairs? Are these floors conducive to a wheelchair or walker? Try to identify potential problems with access, convenience, and safety to determine what your future needs may be. Talk with other peers to find what their biggest challenges, hurdles, and obstacles are when living in their own homes for some further insight. Discuss with a building contractor some ways to make your home more accessible and safe, as well as to obtain estimates of such upgrades.
Do your homework
Check out customer reviews and online information to evaluate what devices and equipment seem to support autonomy in old age or disability. Look for mobility experts that offer free consultations, professional installation, and support after the sale. Some merchants may offer rentals or trials that will allow you to experience and get a feel for the equipment before making a buying decision.
Get your affairs in order
Get your advanced directive in order; an advance directive is a way to lay-out your health care choices in the event that you are unable to make or voice these decisions later on. These typically fall into two categories: living wills and power of attorney for health care. These decisions become more complex and involved for individuals with existing physical disabilities or impairments, so be sure to ask for assistance from a trusted caregiver, provider, or legal professional. Not sure how to go about completing an advance directive? Many organizations that advocate for seniors, such as AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) offer free advance directive forms that you can download and print-out.
Consult with the experts
Now is the time to talk with an expert about mobility options. Opt only for professional installation and buy from reputable vendors when you are ready to take the plunge and increase access around your home. Why wait for problems that can impact your autonomy and accessibility? Talk with someone now about the most pragmatic and sensible solutions to plan for your future needs.
Talk with mobility experts to ensure you have what you need now – and later:
Visit a mobility expert to view some of the options for home installation as well as to determine what price-points are when making long term care plans. Discuss viable approaches to accessibility around your home, including challenging areas, obstacles, and spots that pose potential problems, such as a fall risk or injury. These professionals will be able to assess your current needs, as well as help you plan for a future that is as independent as possible.
There is no time like the present when it comes to long term care planning, and don’t forget to address the possibility of mobility aids, devices, and equipment when you look toward the future. Planning now ensures your wishes are carried-out and that no loved one is left to bear the burden of making your important life decisions. Take a careful look around your home environment; do you see potential hazards or access issues? Do some research and a little internet homework by reading reviews and feedback from consumers related to their mobility assistance to find options that you may not have thought of. Also, begin to get your affairs in order with an advance directive; it really is one of the most thoughtful things that you can do for your children and loved ones.
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)