That Day I Saw Their Struggle

It’s early in the day and the smell of a freshly cut lawn is still evident. Moisture next to the pots on the porch of the plants Mom just watered. Announcing myself on entrance as I open the door. No response. Strolling in the kitchen I see a foil-wrapped plate of food Dad had prepared, knowing I was stopping by.

I continue back to the living room still looking for my parents only to find them sound asleep. Thankful, they are just resting comfortably. Dad on his recliner and Mom half covered with a blanket in her favorite chair.

I’m relieved that they are okay but the emotions rush in as I know they are just exhausted and it’s not even quite noon yet.

Flashing back, I remember the day I first saw Mom really struggle just to get out of her easy chair. I remember the time I saw her challenged just to grab clothes out of the washer. A vision, emerges in my mind, of my dad wincing from the pain he felt in his knees as he climbed down from his riding mower.

It is the typical struggle many people go through when age finally catches up with them.

My mind quickly turns to the question: How can I help them with their day to day? How can I help them with the challenge of living with their disabilities?

Impaired Physical Mobility

That’s the phrase I learned, “Impaired Physical Mobility”, that doctors, nurses and physical therapists use when discussing options for day to day care of people with some condition that limits their mobility or hampers their flexibility.

As degrees of impairment increase, so does the complexity in recommendations and treatment plans to help those with more severe and challenging situations. Some have to be continuously monitored to ensure safety and prevent further injury. Others may just need basic physical therapy coupled with aids and devices for living with their specific mobility impairment.

This limitation in movement or lack of flexibility obviously affects more than just the elderly. People with certain disabilities or injuries may also succumb to this impairment. Even children and seemingly healthy adults in some cases, have to overcome challenges to their physical movements. Next time you see a seemingly fit person driving the motorized WalMart cart, don’t be so quick to judge him as lazy. He may be as uncomfortable as it is already.

The Good

The good news is that while some conditions can be corrected and others can only be improved, the Physical Therapy field is growing and improving tremendously. Physical Therapist jobs are one of the top most needed jobs out there.

Do a quick google search and you will find so many postings for vacancies and new positions. Want a connection, a reason, think baby boomers, think today’s more active lifestyle but also consider our diabetes and obesity rates. It’s pretty evident to see there is a strong need for therapists.

Just as important are the improving technologies to aid those struggling with their mobility limitations. Advancements in medications and therapies are continuously being developed and we cannot forget what engineers are designing and inventing every day to assist in this category. We’ve all seen the videos of 3D printers building prosthetic limbs.

I think we are a long way from a true Cyborg but if you know your TV Classics we are really much closer to the 6 Million Dollar Man. Oh how far we’ve come!

The Bad

I cannot clip my toenails, I cannot scrub my back, I cannot wipe…well, you know where. Is there something that can help me with that? I cannot hold my toothbrush, I cannot get up out of my chair? Is there a device that can help me with that? You would think it would be easy for anyone to find daily aids for disabled people but unfortunately not so much.

Sure some local drugstores have some things but you definitely won’t find a wide assortment. Ever seen a motorized wheelchair for sale in a Walmart. You typically need to go to a specialty medical equipment store to find it. Still sounds simple enough right. Right?

The Rub

Computer generated image with clipping path – Puzzled.

Here is the rub. You know what you need help with. Now what? First does a device even exist. Second what the heck don’t you call it. What don’t you call a nail clipper for those who cannot reach their toes? What do you call the device that helps you get out of your chair?

I’ve asked people I know who are suffering through there limitations. Is there a device that you find helpful in your day to day. Sometimes it’s a yes because it’s a common product found in most drug stores, A cane or a walker. The more common answer is, No, I haven’t found anything, I don’t know of anything or I don’t even know if anything exists.

Sadly there is also the dark side to this. There are just some things people don’t find comfortable asking about. Certain types of aids. I mentioned one of those a few paragraphs up.

They are out there – Life Aids for Disabled People

Pretty much the same conclusion I arrived at when trying to find products for my folks. I couldn’t just walk into my local Walmart to find what I needed. I was just not clear what to even ask for. Oh yeah…and what does that device even look like.

Clueless, I did what most normal people would do and just started typing every sort of search string I can come up with. Pretty amazing how smart Google Search can be. It didn’t take too long before I started stumbling on various outlets that specialize in just this sort of thing.

Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner! I didn’t even have to worry about being embarrassed about what I was looking for.

This is the ultimate goal of Life Is In Reach! To connect people with the products they need. We know if we can help even just a few people, we’ve accomplished something special. So here’s to living life just a little more mobile and with just a bit more freedom.

Cheers!

Frank

 

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