While most will eagerly admit to hoping to live a long life, the quality of each day and year of said life is everything. While life quality is subjective, a few vital components of quality of everyday life include interpersonal relationships, security, accessibility, and health. In fact, quality of life is such an overarching concern of many older citizens, January is used to observe ‘International Quality of Life Month’ across the globe.
As people age, they pass through the stage of emotional development, dubbed by Social theorist Erik Erikson, as the ‘Integrity vs. Despair’ phase of life. This is when older people start to reflect on their life and determine if they are pleased or not pleased with how their lives have played out. For many that live with physical disabilities, chronic health issues, or limited mobility, quality of life can be jeopardized. For this reason, it makes sense to look at ways to improve everyday life- such as mobility aids and equipment– as well as other ways to contribute to a sense of purpose, comfort, and convenience, that add up to an improved overall quality of life.
What constitutes quality of life- and why is it so vital?
A Sense of Purpose
Experts agree that a sense of purpose is interconnected to quality of life. A sense of purpose is what gets you up and out of bed each day, and how you can close your eyes feeling satisfied and fulfilled, for the most part, at night. Finding this purpose can be more complex, however, depending on how you interact with the world around you, in addition to your overall health and wellbeing.
Some find purpose in the job that they do or the people that they help, while others may find this purpose in feeding a pet or donating their time to a worthy cause.
In fact, a sense of purpose is so entwined with our holistic wellbeing that early theorist Erik Erikson includes this in his stages of life development. When people hit their 60s, they begin to reflect and look back at what they have done in their life; are you satisfied with how things turned out? This stage is referred to as ‘integrity vs. despair’ and it asserts that either you feel a sense of accomplishment and integrity in what you have achieved, or you feel a sense of despair and regret. Purpose can remove regret and replace it with a sense of success and achievement.
Ease and Accessibility
Another element of quality of life is access; can you get where you want or need to be? From physical limitations to mobility issues, a lack of accessibility can have grave consequences for those affected. Completing basic activities of daily living (ADLs), like dressing or eating a meal, can become problematic without support. Furthermore, getting out and asserting one’s autonomy can also be riddled with obstacles when access is limited.
Mobility aids and devices, like wheelchairs, scooters, and lifts, help. These aids provide independence for the user- which directly and positively impacts quality of everyday life.
Socialization is considered key in healthy aging, and if you live with any physical limitations or illness, you know how important it is to have support. Supportive and rewarding relationships can come in the form of your friends and family, or caregivers and neighbors. It could also be the connection that you have with your partner, spouse, or even a pet! Reach out and care for someone- or something- else. It truly is a therapeutic experience.
Comfort and Security
Who doesn’t want to be comfortable? Naturally, this is also an element of overall life quality. From being able to sleep in your own bed to using the toilet safely, comfort and security are interrelated. Plus, the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will not fall or that you can safely get outside to your vehicle can be huge; these are components of life quality that should not be underestimated or ignored. Furthermore, these are easily modified and enhanced with mobility aids and equipment around the home environment, both inside and out.
International Quality of Life Month
Interested in learning more? Want to make moves now to improve quality of life later? Make time to observe and become educated about International Quality of Life Month in January this year. Some of the objectives of this observance is to find your purpose, and to be brave about asking for what you need or want- particularly if it will improve your- or someone else’s- quality of life. Also, this is a time that calls for reflection and contemplation. Be empathetic and put yourself in someone else’s shoes; you never know the impact that you could have.
For more information about accessibility as well as the aids and equipment to make life far easier, talk to the industry experts at Pacific Mobility 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)