There was a point, as my dad aged, when he moved into the living room. The realization he was doing this came on us slowly. It went from his falling asleep in front of the TV to his always sleeping in the chair, through a series of little adjustments no one noticed.
Looking back now, I recall how hard it became for Dad to get in and out of that chair. He was a short man and I don’t think he could sit on the edge of his bed and reach the floor. Somewhere in his 80’s, climbing out of the chair or hopping out of bed just stopped being an option. Unfortunately, as Dad moved less, he lost flexibility and strength.
Simple acts like getting up and going to bed involve stretching, organization, and mental discipline. How we go about our day, is part of how we see ourselves. As we age some things, which were so automatic they went unnoticed, can become like mountains blocking familiar paths we have traveled for years.
It’s important to remember that getting older doesn’t mean we are different. Changes in behavior or habits are indicators of what we can do, not who we are. Today we enjoy almost unlimited choices to assist us in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Just look at the ads in any elder-oriented magazine. Googling “Aging in Place” offers seemingly endless sites to visit.
There are chairs that tilt forward to help you get out. Beds come in all sizes and heights and can adjust into various positions. Simple grab bars or pulls can make a tremendous difference in mobility. One of my favorite innovations is the step through bath tub.
All these innovations and more are designed to help us stay active and fit. Options are available. Challenges and changes to daily activities can be addressed, often in easy-to-implement ways. Healthy aging is like the Chinese proverb about taking a long journey; it is just one small step at a time.
Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.