There is nothing wrong with growing older. In fact, there is something very right about it. We should all be so lucky. There is something magical about grey hair that makes you instantly and unquestionably wise. It doesn’t matter if you really are wise, people just assume you are. And there is power in that.
With age comes more experience. You know more things, because you have seen and done more things. You have experienced more seasons of life. You know it’s many flavors well. And with that experience, you are in a better position to help someone else.
But aging is not always a graceful transition. Celebrities make it look like they are aging gracefully, because they spend a lot of money on keeping up the illusion of youth. They seldom tell you about all the aging challenges.
Aging can leave you with less vision, less hearing, and less mobility while giving you the curse of pain in every joint and muscle. No one romanticizes about that aspect of aging. One can only survive it as best they can. If you have loved ones who are not aging gracefully as your favorite octogenarian actress, here are some things you can do to make the way forward a little easier:
Eliminate the Climb
Climbing mountains is for the young adventurers with healthy knees. The seniors in your life have likely climbed all the mountains they are going to. Those stairs in their home probably feel like mountains some days. At some point, they stop climbing and stay confined to the ground floor.
One thing you can do is to eliminate the climb. The question is not whether you should install a stairlift. Rather, it is a matter of how to choose a stairlift for you and the ones you love. This is definitely not a DIY project. You need a professional who knows what will and won’t work with your staircase. An installer that is licensed and bonded goes without saying.
If your loved ones are confined to the ground floor of their home because the stairs have become one too many mountains to climb, eliminate the climb with a stairlift.
Make It Easier to Get in and out
One of the most challenging things some seniors do all day is getting in and out of a chair. Knees and hips protest at the strain. This can be eliminated by providing them with a lift chair that assists in the process of sitting down and getting up. Getting in and out of a car can also be a challenge. There are devices that can help eliminate that challenge as well.
One of the more practical additions to a home is a ramp. A person need not be confined to a wheelchair to appreciate the benefits of a ramp leading into the home as opposed to steps. Inside the house, there is a matter of safely getting in and out of the shower.
From grab bars to curbless showers and walk-in bathtubs to nonslip mats and rugs, options for senior-friendly bathrooms abound. Getting in and out safely is a priority that can easily be met with a little care.
Make It Easier to Read
The older you get, the smaller print gets. But in the world of smartphones and other electronic devices, it doesn’t have to be that way. No computing devices are more accessible out of the box than Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches… You get the idea. Apple has made accessibility a top-level priority for all of their devices, including the HomePod.
Your elderly parents might not know how to explore those settings. While not as extensive, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon also have accessibility features that make their products usable for people with disabilities. Help your parents learn how to adjust the fonts on all their electronic devices to make them easier to read. Sometimes televisions have large type closed caption options.
If they have a device with no accessibility affordances, buy them new devices that cater to their needs. After all, aging is a gift, not a curse. Make it more graceful by eliminating the climb, making it easier to get in and out, and making everything easier to read.