Nobody is getting any younger and many may be noticing changes in mobility or health needs. How can individuals plan now for this later? It makes good sense to plan ahead for reduced mobility and accessibility- particularly if you also live with chronic conditions. Consider these tips to plan- ahead!
You may think that the prospect of needing any kind of mobility aids and equipment is a long way off- so far, in fact, that many don’t give it a second thought. The truth is an injury, illness, or medical procedure can impede mobility and present physical challenges. Why not plan ahead for these situations and be ready for extra assistance if and when it is needed.
Plan-ahead for these situations and mobility issues later:
Did you know that over 22% of the adult population in the US has arthritis? Nearly half of all people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with arthritis. It is estimated that by the year 2040, around 78 million people over the age of 18 will have some form of arthritis, diagnosed by a healthcare professional.
The chances of being diagnosed with Arthritis increases when you also have other chronic medical conditions. This is referred to as arthritis comorbidity, and the co-occurring medical condition can play a role in the severity and frequency of arthritis symptoms. For example, issues like obesity exacerbate the symptoms, and pain, of arthritis, limiting mobility and making everyday tasks a challenge. Arthritis is also common among people with diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, if you struggle with chronic health conditions that may linger or worsen in years to come, efforts made now to improve access will be well worth the efforts. Conditions like diabetes, neuropathy, muscular issues, obesity, stroke, brain injury, or dementia, may be less debilitating when you have put in the time to implement things like enhanced lighting, lifts, ramps, railings, and grab bars around the home environment.
Do you live with chronic pain issues? If not, you are fortunate. It is estimated that there are more than 200,000 cases of chronic pain, defined as lasting more than three months, diagnosed each year in this country. While medications may be used to lessen the severity of symptoms, there is no cure for chronic pain conditions. Some may last for months while others may suffer for years; pain can be persistent and ongoing or phasic and episodic.
Chronic pain sufferers may benefit from mobility aids and equipment, such as stairlifts on landings, now for when symptoms flare up later. Some conditions like diabetes can evolve into painful medical complications like neuropathy. A stairlift can help increase accessibility around the home without the pain of ascending stairs or steps.
Adaptive aids and mobility equipment is also helpful during recovery from an operation, surgery, or illness. Many individuals end up staying in skilled nursing facilities if there are accessibility issues at home during recovery. Think now of ways that you could make your home environment easier to habituate if you were facing challenges, such as limited mobility.
Ramps near risers and stairlifts can be pragmatic for anyone that struggles with climbing stairs. Plus, the steps are left accessible and usable for anyone who chooses to use them. Why wouldn’t you want the added convenience? Start small with grab bars throughout the home, anyplace that you run the risk of losing your balance. These are such a simple augment but can be lifesaving at times.
Any senior is at risk of a fall, so plan now to reduce potential fall risk. It is estimated that there are around 1,800 fatal falls each year in the US, and another 9,500 people die from injuries related to a previous fall. A fall is the main cause of accidental death among the over 65 subset. Falls can begin a decline in overall health and wellbeing which can be catastrophic for a senior.
Some proactive ways to plan now and potentially prevent the risk of a fall later include:
- Invest in an inexpensive shower seat to help prevent falls when bathing or showering.
- Buy a reaching tool to help grab items or objects that are just out of reach- without losing your balance.
- Improve lighting around the home, particularly near stairs, steps, and doors.
Who do you live with? What is their health like? It could be that the preparations you make now could benefit those you love later. Are there others in the home that you provide care for? Consider their needs also when assessing the practicality of investing in mobility resources now.
Time marches on and everybody gets older. You can’t predict how you will age, but you can prepare for quality of life with any aids and conveniences that will help lessen the blows of the aging process. Plan ahead for your own future- as well as the future of those you love. It makes sense; talk with a mobility equipment professional at Pacific Mobility to learn more about your options 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)