Aging in Place: Mobility
With over 2 million mobility aid consumers in the United States, mobility aids have become the most sought after products to increase independence for individuals with disabilities and to assist individuals aging in place.
Aging in place refers to the use of assistive and adaptive devices designed to ease the load of daily occupations and activities in the home and in the community for aging individuals. Older individuals prefer to stay within their current home as they age.
Even when they experience physical and cognitive decline, aging individuals prefer to receive care in the comfort of their own home. Aging individuals are intentionally adding adaptations to their home and purchasing assistive devices to complete desired tasks.
Aging individuals who make home modifications and use mobility aids (i.e. walkers, wheelchairs, rollators, canes, etc) are more active, less dependent on caregivers, and healthier in their daily occupations.
Studies show that individuals who are limited in daily activities travel less and navigate through less community space. When these same individuals were provided consistent mobility aids and resources to community assets and opportunities, their health improved significantly.
A major component to well-being in older age includes reinforcing an independent, active lifestyle. When considering aging in place, it is important to identify the potential problems that aging individuals face due to the decline in health related to aging. All individuals experience an evolution in the physiological body unique to their health and wellness.
If cost is a factor when considering home modifications, you should know that modifications are not limited to physical or permanent installments. A modification in the home could be as simple as removing an area rug in the living room to level the ground and increase safety while walking with a mobility aid.
Additionally, a modification in the home could be a permanent ramp added to the front door stairwell to increase independence for a wheelchair user while navigating in and out of the home.
It is incredibly important to research and consider the benefits of incorporating mobility aids (i.e. wheelchairs, transport chairs, transfer chairs, walkers, rollators, canes, crutches etc) to increase the quality of life of aging individuals.
More and more older individuals are experiencing the fullness of life after retirement due to the independence afforded to them while using mobility aids and home modifications.
Using Mapping to Evaluate Community Mobility and Participation While Aging in Place
Overcoming Barriers: Therapist, Client, and Caregiver Perspectives on Home-Modification Recommendations
Impacts of Home Modifications on Aging-in-Place
Wheelchair Selection and Training: Teaching and Guiding Practitioners and Consumers