Everyone likes to get out once in while, whether it is to go to the grocery store, to visit with an old friend or a new grand baby, or just to go for a little ride around the neighborhood. It is refreshing and good for the mind, body and for lifting spirits.
What happens when the trip from house car and car back to house become a dangerous journey? Changes that come with aging can impact how we get around inside the house and they can also impact how we get around right outside our own front door. They can even leave some people feeling like a prisoner in their own home.
If you don’t feel safe going outside then chances are you just won’t go out and that it is one limitation most of us don’t care to think about. Being home bound is a depressing thought. Fortunately there are products that can help make getting out safer.
Changes That Impact Our Ability to Ambulate Safely Outside
First of all, let’s agree that there are many changes and challenges we face as we grow older. Some of them impact how we maneuver inside our home and many of those are compounded when we add trying to go outside. I’ll share some conditions that cause our challenges and some of the best products to help us overcome those challenges.
- failing eyesight – our eyes just don’t react the way they used to and getting outside often means seeing the edge of the step and being able to tell how big of a drop it is. Depth perception and ability to see in bright light or partial shade become more challenging with age. Many conditions can affect our vision.
- Weak grip – maybe it used to be a little easier to hold onto that railing and keep yourself upright but now with weaker grip strength even that coping mechanism isn’t as effective as it used to be. Turning the door knob is more difficult with a weaker grip as well.
- Fatigue – along with weaker grip and overall muscle weakness, you may experience fatigue and finding a safe place to sit outside isn’t as easy as it is inside your home.
- Balance – many of the previous issues can also impact balance. If balance is off and then you try to go on stairs, stepping up or down one foot at a time, that throws your balance off even more.
Products to Help Solve Mobility Issues Outside the House
Let’s start right at the front door. This first product can help you get in the front door easier than ever. The Schlage Keypad entry system with door lever is easy to install, easy to use and great for aging people. The lever door handle (as opposed to a knob) is easy to operate. You don’t have to grip and twist, you just push down with your fingers, hand wrist, no grip strength needed. They keypad eliminates the need to fumble with keys (or remember them for that matter), and no worries about trying to twist your wrist and turn that little key inside the lock. You can program the keypad with any numbers that are easy for you to recall.
Earlier I mentioned a few eyesight changes. Having a well lit walkway is one way to assist with changes in eyesight. Being able to see where you are stepping helps with depth perception challenges. Motion sensor lights will come on whenever movement is detects. You can place them exactly where you need them most. Solar motion detecting lights will help you save on your electric bill while you stay safe outside your home. I also like the motion detection to alert me if there is a person or animal moving around outside my house. These lights work well for walkways and all the way around your house and yard – really anywhere you walk where enhanced lighting will make it safer for you.
Among the challenges to getting into and out of the house are the steps we come across along the way. Going up and down steps can get difficult. Many homes have just a couple of steps to get onto porch or in the door. Some homes have a step or two from the garage into the house. Removing the steps isn’t normally an option so we look at how to eliminate the need (and strength needed) to use the steps. Ramps are an easy to install and fairly economical solution. It is easier and safer to walk up or down a small gentle incline or decline than to maneuver steps.
Aging In Place
Moving around inside and outside our homes safely should be part of our aging in place plan. When we age in place we are learning how to adapt to differences in the way we move throughout our homes as we change and age. There are so many factors that impact us through the years including potential illness or injury. Each factor brings a new set of challenges and we adjust to them by finding products or services that help us remain in the place we most want to be – our home.