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Do You Know What is The Ceiling of Diminishing Returns?

Mon, Jan 3rd, 2022

Ceiling of Diminishing Return

How Bell House Medical the Home of Master Grab Bar can help you push back against the ceiling of diminishing returns.

Guest blog writer for Bell House Medical, Florida Physical Therapist, John D'Amico, who over the past 22 years has specialized in treating the geriatric population often speaks about the importance of understanding your personal ceiling of diminishing returns to both patients and groups.

Now, likely you have never heard of the ceiling of diminishing returns. The ceiling of diminishing returns is a theory that describes while it is never too late to improve your health and functional ability, the longer you put it off the lower your potential improvement becomes.

Why should you stay active as you age?

This is easily understood when applied to activities you had routinely performed as a teen or young adult such as playing full court basketball. Now at say 60 no matter how much you tried to prepare for this activity chances are good that your body, or “below the neck” as John often says, just will not allow it to happen. That activity is now above “your ceiling”. 99.9% of us can accept that as reasonable. However, if we (out of habit) self-limit our daily activities, the loss of ability in normal daily habits becomes first difficult and perhaps ends up being out of your grasp (above your personal ceiling).

Perhaps we can rehabilitate ourselves or with the help of a physical therapist, regain that activity but just as with basketball there are times, with age and sedentary lifestyle, that certain mundane activities, such as coming up on your toes to reach up to a cabinet becomes impossible due to strength, power and balance losses.

The activity ceiling

As uncomfortable as this may be to read, it is an important factor to understand and perhaps use as a motivator to maintain your independence. In fact, science has been able to quantify the level of function necessary to be able to live independently. This is called Max VO2 at or above 13 ml of oxygen use per kg of body weight per minute. Holy cow! Do you really need to understand this? Of course not, all you need to know is you need the ability to get from one place to another in your home.

In practical terms, your activity “ceiling” should be above the ability to walk 40 feet inside your home (known in the medical industry as “household distances”) without needing to sit down or fall down due to fatigue or loss of balance.

Use mobility aids if you need them

Bringing this idea full circle to Bell House Medical, there are times that your efforts and the efforts of your Physical Therapist may not be enough to help you maintain your independence. Does that mean you automatically need to start looking for a relative to move in with or a nursing home to move into? NO! Bell House Medical can provide you with all the mobility aids that you need. From ramps and bathroom modifications to walkers and scooters, Bell House Medical can help you stay safe, happy and independent in your home.