We hear it all the time in our showhome, at our in-services and our booths at community events – “We’re not ready, yet.” or “That’s not for me.”. The truth of the matter is that many people associate accessibility with being elderly or having a disability. While it is true that older people and those with disabilities rely on the modifications we provide to perform daily living tasks, they aren’t the only ones who need the services we offer. What we wish we had time to explain to you as you walk past our booth or take a pamphlet and head home is that a grab bar or a stair lift in your home isn’t a sign of old age, it’s the beginning of something much bigger.
While you may not be ready today to install a grab bar in your shower or put a stair lift on your stairs, the time will come when you wish you had these devices in place in your home. One in four Americans over the age of 65 will fall this year according to the National Council on Aging. It’s easy to say ‘That’s not me’ until it is you. Every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Installing a grab bar in your shower provides stability. New medications, illness, and dehydration can impact your equilibrium making the big step over the edge of your tub dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new study that revealed that the short-term risk of single and recurring falls triples within the first two days after a medication change. You may not reach for that grab bar every day, but on the days you need it, it’s right there.
As we age, we spend more time at home. Half to two-thirds of the falls that are treated in the emergency room each year happen at home. It makes sense to reduce the fall risks in your home and make your living areas safer. Mobility through your home after a fall or a surgery can be challenging. Every day we answer phone calls from family members who are worried about how they will bring their loved one home from the hospital or how they will be able to move through their home with a new injury or disability. Making small modifications to prepare for these situations can help reduce the stress you and your loved ones experience during an injury, surgery or hospitalization. Modifications to your home lessen the chance of injury or re-injury by more than 55 percent.
Making your home accessible and modifying the property to be easier to use doesn’t have to take away from the beauty of the house. Decorative grab bars and railings can enhance the look of your bathroom or stairs. Stairlifts with curved rails can tuck the chair away, out of site. Lift chairs look like regular recliners. Barrier-free showers are fashionable with high-end finishes and custom tile installations. Accessibility and safety can be stylish and enhance the look and feel of your home. If you’ve never had an in-home evaluation, now is the perfect time to schedule one. There are fall hazards and barriers to accessibility in your home that you may not have ever considered. Many of these dangers can be minimized by making small repairs, installing expandable door hinges, threshold ramps or grab bars.
Modifying your home and making it safe and accessible is a choice. By choosing to be proactive in your needs rather than responding to an injury or the evolution of an illness you are giving yourself the ability to control your aging journey. There is so much uncertainty as we age that having the right products in place to help make the transition easier provides comfort and security in the most challenging times. Planning for changing needs and situations makes it easier for adult children, caretakers and loved ones to help you stay in your home as your needs and abilities evolve. Even the most basic modification can reduce the stress and anxiety you or your loved ones feel as heal from a fall or switch medications. Small changes add up to significant differences.
These are all the things we wish we had time to say to you when we see you in public and you pass by our booth or leave without information in your hand. No one wants to think about needing the products we offer, and no one wants to admit that they can’t do the stairs or that getting off the commode is hard. We understand that. What we really want you to know is that just like your family cares for you and your well-being, ours does too. We’ll be here when you’re ready for that grab bar, a ramp or a stair lift. Planning for what’s next starts with a free evaluation. See where a few simple home modifications can take you!