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"I had three children B.D.," a friend of mine told me yesterday. B.D. stands for "before diapers," or in the most labor-intensive (my term, not hers) way possible. “And it was before the automatic washing machines came on the market as well,” she moaned. This made me stop and think a bit about how rapidly our quality of life has been improving. We are all set to greatly benefit as caregivers and older adults as well.
I have been writing quite a bit about radical improvements to our quality of life at 50+. It is wonderful to discover more and more examples of how many innovative companies and products are being created to support us as we age.
One of the major issues we face in later life is remaining comfortable and independent in our own home. I recently spoke about home care with Anthony McCabe, President of Genesis Creations Contracting in New York. His company is an environmental modification provider. Remember this term! I am sure we will encounter it more and more often, as clients or as caregivers. “Quite often the person in need is mistaken for the patient,” says Anthony McCabe. “For instance, in the matter of grab bars in the shower area, it could be more important to install grab bars for the care giver for stability. We must always think of the needs of all parties involved. New technology service offers to ease the burdens of the caregiver as well.”
What exactly is the extent of modifications that can, and should be done? McCabe’s answer is, “all that is possible.” He advocates a proactive approach. “Many improvements can be made that would enhance the quality of life before a tragedy occurs. If you think getting used to something new when you are healthy is difficult, try it when you no longer have all of your strength or abilities.” Obvious problem areas include navigating kitchens and bathrooms. McCabe considers the reason for improvements – is the goal to make the envirnment safer or less cluttered? – supremely important.
There many options in both financing for a project as well as a plan of approach. In some cases, Medicaid or the state's Nursing Home Transition Program covers a part of the cost.
So, how do you start? McCabe says these are the basic questions to be answered. “The first and best step is to follow the direction of your doctor or therapist. After that, a qualified professional should be brought in to assess the area and the needs. This qualified professional should have a great deal of practical experience and not just taught in a class. We all know that the best experience is hands on. There are designations being handed out today to people who have never run a screw in the wall or hung a grab bar, much less know the feel and function of tile and other components to a project. The last thing anyone wants to do is go through an extensive renovation only to learn that all the needs were not met. It takes time and experience to learn the proper application for an individual’s needs.”
I find it remarkable that specilized services like this (rather than hiring a construction crew that does it from time to time) have come into the market. They provide the independence and the freedom to live where we want and how we want. Cheers to aging gracefully and on our own terms!
You can receive a checklist of safety tips from Genesis Creations Contracting, Ltd. at http://www.genesiscreationscontracting.com.