Seniors being mobile is essential in avoiding depression through isolation. Not being able to get around the way one used to can cause a person with disabilities to pull away out of shame for being dependant. Someone with disabilities that need assistance would greatly benefit from a caregiver as well as mobility assistance.
We once had a client named Reynaldo, whose family noticed he wasn’t as sociable as he used to be, they even noticed that he wouldn’t eat the way he used to. Friends and family would come to visit and he would not keep company with them for long. He would share stories of things he used to do and shortly switch the subject when someone would ask him out of the house. He wouldn’t hang out much longer after that, he would dismiss himself from the room using his rolling walker. In fact, he would spend more time in his bedroom than he would anywhere else.
Reynaldo eventually expressed to a close friend that he did have a desire to do things and go places but he didn’t want to be a bother for anyone. He felt that his need to have assistance getting in and out of the car made it less likely for someone to want to take him out; he didn’t want to slow anyone down. He was once a very vibrant and active man that traveled a lot and was the life of the party wherever he went. He joked that his middle name was “Vamos” (let’s go).
His friend told his family and they admitted to themselves that their loved one not being able to get himself in and out of vehicles made traveling with him difficult. As much as they enjoyed his company outdoors and in pubic places, it just wasn’t an easy task. They decided to get him some help in the mobility area.
Mobility is important to everyone, especially seniors. Caregivers have to, sometimes, step in to provide transportation for people who face mobility problems. Depending on their needs, whether they are full-time users of wheelchairs, get around with walkers, use a cane, or simply are a bit stiff and grateful for a hand now and then getting into and out of a vehicle, they will require the assistance of a caregiver to get around. Getting out of a vehicle’s seat can be quite difficult. Turning the body to get the legs out of the car, then leaning on a not so sturdy door handle for balance, and getting away from the car into a wheelchair or walker or onto the support of a cane is difficult. There are a number of simple and relatively inexpensive items that can help. Caregivers and users can move them from vehicle to vehicle, and no modifications to the vehicles are needed.
Because the accessories don't require vehicle modifications, they don't make the user appear to be impaired, helping them avoid potential prejudice and negative attitudes that some have about people who are disabled or challenged.
We’ve listed some devices that can be found on the internet and in stores that can be brought in and out vehicles. We recommend you consult with a doctor, occupational therapist or physical therapist to make sure they won't do more harm than good in your situation.
An assist bar is a latch that attaches itself to the doorjamb of the car. This mechanism extends the grab handle of the door so that the person reaching for it can easily grasp it for support.
Assist strap is sometimes called car caddies and are support straps that are used to help a person raise themselves from a seated position in order to lift out of the car or other vehicles. They must be attached to the frame of the window of the car.
A swivel cushion is a cushion that is placed on a seat that allows the person to swivel (turn) bottom in order to position their legs to be on the outside of a vehicle.
Turny or valet seat
Turny or valets are seats that have to be installed into a car and are more of a permanent fix; not something that you can take with you from one car to the next. It’s used to help people in wheelchairs get in and out of vehicles.
Ramps are more commonly used. Ramps are used for easier access up into a vehicle and easier access out of a vehicle. These can be portable and used for doors as well as multiple vehicles.
Docking stations are convenient but not as safe as other mobility devices. Docking stations lifts and stores wheelchairs into vehicles while not in use or while the vehicle is in motion with the rider fastened in it.
These devices make it easier for the family to take their loved ones with them just about anywhere. Most families want to take loved ones out to enjoy living. This ability extends the lives of those with limited mobility. To people who are disabled lives, going out and enjoying the world means more than anything; they are lest likely to sit alone in seclusion.
Sharon, the director of Right Choice Home Care, a non-medical transportation provider and home care agency located in the South Suburbs of Chicago had this to say, “It’s important that loved ones get out and socialize. Isolation leads to depression and eating disorders, although no one admits it; these behaviors are often attributed to the lack of mobility.”
In summation, simple tools like the one referenced above are highly accessible and can make a world of difference for our mobility-challenged loved ones. The freedom to go to and fro without feeling dependence will help senior adults continue to age with grace and enjoy this season of their life. If you have any questions concerning issues with transportation or mobility please give Right Choice a call at (708) 832-6628 or visit us at www.rightchoicehomecare.com.