Time waits for no one... Time marches on... How did it get so late so soon... There are many sayings out there that are related to time passing by and it is true no one can stop time. It seems one day we are graduating from high school and the next we are ready for retirement.
Throughout our lives, we learn how to do things from early on like the basics of self-care (feeding ourselves, brushing our teeth, bathing, combing our hair and getting dressed) then later we learn skills (cooking, fixing things, making things) and are physically flexible. We can stoop down and twist to get inside cabinets or reach for something in the back of the closet.
But as we age moving can become more difficult. We are used to performing certain movement patterns for many many years but later in life things we did routinely can become more difficult for a variety of reasons. We may have a decrease in:
- Upper body strength
- Lower body strength
- Grip strength
- Cognitive abilities
- Overall mobility
The problem starts when our brain thinks we can still do something that we always did that our body can't anymore. For example, there was a man who was a master plumber, electrician, HVAC technician and builder. He could do almost anything. In his 80's he had a few TIA's and as a result, there was some memory loss, he had become weaker over time and had decreased flexibility. He could walk without an assistive device and perform all of the routine daily care activities needed without assistance.
One day, there was a small leak under the kitchen sink which would have been nothing for him to fix 10 years before but although he thought he could fix it, he couldn't. There was no way he could crouch down under the sink and remembering all of the steps to complete the job eluded him. This can be very frustrating and even dangerous if someone tries to do a task they are not physically and / or mentally equipped to perform.
As people age, it is important to keep track of how they function at the present time and not compared to what they could do years before. As time passes things change and not every change is obvious. A small stumble when walking across the living room can be very dangerous. That throw rug has been there for years but now Mr. Smith sometimes stumbles over it. Or, Mrs. Jones has always washed her hair in the shower. She applies shampoo, tilts her head back and cleans her curly locks. Well at this stage of her life Mrs. Jones has intermittent vertigo and is at risk for falling when washing her hair.
Did you know that 60% of falls happen in the home? Environmental factors, clutter, poor lighting, decreased strength and medication side effects are just a few reasons older people fall.
Getting and using a mobility device if you need one, reducing clutter, better lighting, removing throw rugs, having grab bars installed in the bathroom or a stairlift installed on the staircase if stairs are risky all help you to reduce the chance of sustaining a life-altering fall.
We all want to enjoy as much quality time on this earth as we can to spend with our families, friends and loved ones. We can't slow down or stop time but we can make the time we have as enjoyable as possible by being safe.
Bell House Medical the home of Master Grab Bar has a mission and that is to help make seniors in Delmarva as safe and independent as possible by installing grab bars, stairlifts, vertical platform lifts and many other home safety devices. Check out our website to see what they have to offer.