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Aging in Place -always another way

by Louis on February 14, 2010

I have become friends with a lot of clients over the years. One who inspired me continuously, Karen Pitelka, helped me see that “there is always another way”. Karen said this as part of an amazing attitude toward her disabilities. About another client who was pretty depressed Karen once said “You mean he doesn’t see his Multiple Sclerosis as a gift, yet?” I had to respond that no one else I knew saw their MS as a gift. Karen was very special.

Yet Karen’s lesson is important for everyone. There is always another way.This lesson is particularly important when our bodies start to change. When I worked as a carpenter my knees would get sore when I did baseboard. I learned to prepare better so I could move around on my knees for a while rather than get up and down so much. Simple things that make the stuff we do just a little bit easier.

If you use the same pot very often make sure it is near the front of the cabinet, or even leave it out on the stove so you don’t have to reach and bend.

Get your groceries delivered because it saves a trip, gets them right into the house and saves time.

I was chatting with some fellow students about our home practice before Yoga class the other day. One woman mentioned that she leaves her mat down all the time with a throw rug over it. This blew me, and a number of other folks who heard her say it, away. I keep my mat rolled up just near where I practice. I never thought of it but think my way is common. Her new idea is just out of the box, different and smart for her situation. I love that.

Aging in Place is not radical living. It does require some preparation. And it works best when we think things through to find big and little strategies to make things easier. Plan to get boxes down from the top shelf when someone is around. Keeping a step ahead of foods and prescriptions can eliminate unnecessary trips that are difficult to arrange. My dad used to shop Trader Joe’s for prepared one person entrees that were much better than typical prepared meals. Just a little forethought.

I am a strong advocate of more comprehensive planning. I have seen too many folks forced from their homes because design changes that could have made it easy enough to recuperate at home were not undertaken. Renovated baths and entries do not have to look unusual. Home modifications only require keeping additional goals in mind when planning renovations.

These are not wild ideas. They are just another way. Putting a yoga mat under a throw rug is not earth shaking, just a bit different. New ways to do things helps us absorb change, allowing us to keep our big picture- Aging in Place – in view, even if our routines aren’t working so well. Be open to change. It may even be fun!

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