There are many reasons to ‘take the stairs’ when given the option; but what about those that cannot? This January, consider observing National Take the Stairs Day by moving more and increasing access for those that may have physical limitations or mobility issues. Furthermore, this is the perfect time to visit whether a stairlift may be a prudent option when you choose to take the stairs, too.
If you do not live with physical disabilities or mobility issues, it can be hard to fathom the difficulties and access problems faced. After all, it is easy to overlook accessibility- that is, being able to move about home, work, and community, untethered by challenges or hurdles. When it comes to access, mobility aids and equipment are life-changing, but many who would benefit miss out. National Take the Stairs Day, an annual observance on the second Wednesday each January, provides a platform to educate and enlighten groups widely about how fortunate those that ‘take the stairs’ are, and how to improve accessibility in an effort to improve and enhance quality of life, overall.
How does access contribute to quality of life?
The convenience of being able to readily access areas of the home, work, or community cannot be overlooked. Think about what it would take to do the things you enjoy doing regularly if you lived with physical limitations or disabilities; consider how it would impact everyday convenience. Plus, preparing for and being ready to access areas, such as a public bathroom or your outdoor home living space, takes time- and time is a most precious commodity.
Accessibility is not always comfortable. Sometimes, mobility aids are awkward or ill-fitting, and you may not find the precise equipment that solves access issues on your own. It pays to speak with a mobility retailer or professional who knows the ins, outs, and details regarding walkers, chairs, scooters, and lifts. Being able to access your upstairs bedroom to sleep in your own bed, for instance, is an issue of comfort that directly influences your overall quality of life.
The ease of being able to get where you need to go, when you need to get there, is another access issue that impacts quality of life. So many take the ease of transporting themselves from point A to point B for granted; anyone with physical limitations can appreciate accessibility especially when it is easier for them. What are some ways to make access easier for others? Consider ramps, wider doorways, and leaving a wide berth through the home or workplace; these can all be helpful to those utilizing mobility devices or equipment.
It is human nature to desire to be independent and autonomous, but we all need a bit of assistance from time to time. Access is a huge part of autonomy, as well as a barrier to living an autonomous and independent life for someone with physical impairments or disabilities. An inability to get around and complete ADLs (activities of daily living), could influence whether you are deemed capable of living on your own- and whether you age in place.
Aging in Place
Speaking of aging in place, accessibility can either facilitate or prevent this from happening. Aging in place refers to the ability to live out one’s days as they see fit, from living independently in the family home to sharing a dwelling with a friend, family member, or roommate. The ability to make choices pertinent to how you live demonstrates aging in place, which is often denied to those that have issues with accessibility and, subsequently, independence.
Does access interfere with your purpose and everyday goals? It has been shown that a sense of purpose is integral for seniors- it is what helps us get out of bed each morning. If it is difficult or impossible to access areas, places, or sites to participate in activities that bring about a sense of purpose, it can have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing.
As human beings, interaction with others is key to health and wellbeing. Socialization can be hampered by a lack of accessibility; places and activities that were once enjoyed may be difficult to attend due to access issues. This can limit and even cease socialization- which may lead to isolation, depression, and even chronic health issues.
Do you have access to your care providers? Doctors, practitioners, and aides should be made aware of any accessibility issues, like transportation or an inability to get up stairs and steps, to ensure continuity of care. If you simply cancel appointments, these providers may not realize your challenges- they may be able to help!
Do you- or someone you care about- live with mobility issues or accessibility hurdles? Talk to the team at Pacific Mobility to find devices, aids, and equipment that improve access and enhance quality of life for consumers widely. Call to learn more today.
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)