Part 3 of a 4 part series
By Anne Franklin, Senior Safety Advisor
Fewer Americans are dying early from major illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, leading to overall lower death rates and longer life expectancy, according to a 2014 study reported by USA Today.
Life expectancy for females as of 2012 was 81.2 years and 76.4 years for males. Statistically, if you were age 65 in 2012, your life expectancy is about 19.3 more years. So the good news is that most of us are going to be here a while longer. The question is, where is “here” going to be?
As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, Aging in Place is a choice many individuals make to help ensure better quality of life and control their circumstances as they age. It is a choice that takes both experience and planning. Sadly, the aging in place movement is a relatively new one and, as a result, those who are considering it have few personal experiences upon which to draw.
Fortunately, there are experienced, credible resources available to help! Tri-State Mobility, located on Winchester Avenue in Ashland, has helped hundreds of people plan for and achieve independence as they age in place in their own homes. Tri-State Mobility offers solutions to fit the specific concerns and each individual’s situation.
Let’s take a look at what can be done in the bedroom to improve independent function and maximize safety.
• Grab bars. Some medications, muscle weakness, and prolonged illnesses can make one unsteady. We recommend placing grab bars along the wall to the bathroom to provide stability for when you have to arise suddenly or make a nighttime trip to the restroom.
• Getting into and out of bed can be made easier with an electric bed that can be lowered. An electric bed (not a hospital bed!) can help ensure independence and make the process of rising in the morning, or settling in at night, much easier. Many furniture and mattress stores offer electric beds. If an electric bed isn’t for you, consider reduced-height box springs, which are available from many manufacturers.
• Ensure clearance. Situate the bed and other furniture so there is at least 36 inches of clearance to allow for wheelchair approach and convenient access to the bathroom if necessary.
• Install a SuperPole or SmartRail to assist with repositioning in bed or rising from bed. The SuperPole can also be used with a trapeze feature. These are tension mounted and can easily be removed or repositioned.
• Many falls from the bed occur when reaching to the nightstand to turn off the lights, answer the telephone or when reaching for other items. Consider a bedside pouch or placement of these items in a closer location. If the nightstand has sharp edges consider a different nightstand or padding the edges to prevent injury in case of fall.
• Change the door swing to the bathroom. Most bathroom doors are set to open into the room. Consider reversing the swing of the door so it opens outward. Should you, or your loved one, fall in the bathroom, the reverse swing will allow easier access by emergency personnel or others trying to assist. If a reverse swing is not possible, consider removing the door or possibly installing a pocket door, if conditions permit.
• Organize your closet. Install closet organizers that eliminate clutter and the need to bend down or reach up for items.
Taking the steps necessary to remain in your own home for as long as possible does not have to result in major construction or break the bank. There are some simple, less costly solutions available if you know who to ask!
At Tri-State Mobility, we want to be your go-to resource for planning and living in your home into your 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond! Stop by our store on Winchester Avenue today to discuss your unique circumstances and learn how we can help.
We will be happy to speak with you, with no obligation, about your specific needs and appropriate solutions.
712 Winchester Ave., Ashland, KY 41101