Advances in medicine have made it possible for more and more people to live with conditions that would have once been fatal. And now, technology is making it easier for those same people to remain at home instead of spending the rest of their lives in a medical facility. The impact on their finances and health is difficult to measure but clearly significant.
As a result of that evolution, there are more and more jobs available in the field of personal care, especially in the home. The best news for those of us with mobility limitations is that there is no end in sight to the opportunities for increasing our independence without sacrificing safety or the peace of mind of our loved ones.
For people to have so much more independence just a few years after they would have been confined to a nursing home is impressive. To understand how this has been possible, we need to look at a few key areas of development that have emerged in that time. Those developments, coupled with dedicated home caretakers, are allowing more and more people to stay at home in spite of mobility issues.
The most fundamental thing a person must be able to do is to contact help when there is a problem. Whether it is a problem with medication, a power failure, or a fall, it is essential for someone with a mobility limitation to be able to reach out for assistance.
With the assistance of devices like Alert1, help is always literally at the user’s fingertips. It is lightweight and compact, ensuring that it won’t become a nuisance that is ultimately abandoned. It is reliable and requires very little action; simply pressing the button will summon help even if the user can’t speak.
But even before these devices came along, devices like cordless land lines made it possible for impaired people to have a much greater range of travel inside and around their homes without worrying that they couldn’t get help if needed.
Gone are the days of clumsy wheelchairs and rickety canes. Today, anyone who has a neurological, motor, or orthopedic limitation can make the most of the mobility that they do have.
There are scores of rechargeable power chairs on the market, and many large stores even provide them for customers. The opportunity to move safely about the home and to handle routine errands like grocery shopping makes it much easier to live independently.
Of course, the power chair can only go so far. Customized vehicles can easily open large doors with ramps, allowing a wheelchair or power chair to roll inside and permitting access to the driver’s controls without any additional assistance.
Sometimes the most high-tech thing is the most low-tech thing. The most common enemy of anyone with mobility limitations has always been the bathtub or shower. It’s essential for health and comfort, yet it’s very dangerous: It has wet surfaces, it’s hard, and it’s usually located in a crowded room. This combination leads to many injuries and deaths each year, even among able-bodied individuals.
Today, that has changed. In addition to improved grab rails and more effective flooring, baths and showers today can be retrofitted into walk-in devices that require no stepping up or over and include a seat for safe use. These new fixtures are safer and easier, and the investment can quickly pay for itself.
The same developments have helped with things like cabinetry, which can include fold-down components to permit safer access to items stored in higher spaces. Both of these areas have grown from technology that we’ve seen in things like automobiles and attic ladders, but the new applications have made a huge impact on home safety and independence.
Independence in the home is partly about having human help, but technology can contribute too. With the right combination, today’s differently-abled person has much better prospects than ever before for staying at home permanently.