Little Aids for an Older Me

I’ve never been the world’s most coordinated person. Even a slow dance with my daughter at her wedding in 2011 (yes, I can remember the date–9/10/11) required my constant attention, but at least I didn’t fall or knock her or anyone else down.

Nonetheless, it’s not a wonder I started using one of my many homemade walking sticks some years ago when walking for exercise . I’ve always been fond of telling people it’s because I can trip over a line in the floor. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but if there’s a slick or ever so slightly uneven spot where I’m walking, one of my feet is sure to find it.

I have to admit I occasionally use a walking stick when shopping or just going somewhere where having something to lean on is useful.

When will I really need to use it all the time? No idea. But at least I’m prepared.

But walking isn’t the only activity aging affects. Getting in and out of the shower–and remaining upright while showering–and in and out of the car are things younger people probably take for granted.

But not me.

Although my mother-in-law doesn’t have a shower handle, she’s the person who made me realize how much I needed one. After spilling some shampoo in the bottom of the tub one day, I needed something I didn’t have to keep from sliding and falling down.  (No, I didn’t fall, but I was on pins and needles about the possibility.)

Even on a normal daily basis, simply leaning against the wall while raising each leg in turn to wash my feet didn’t make me feel safe. Rinsing my hair (with eyes closed, of course) tended to make me feel less steady. And totally drying one leg and foot and setting it out on the bath mat while the other remained in the tub felt especially dangerous.

So I found a shower bar online and managed to install it without doing too much damage to the bathroom.

The other two gadgets I’ve found useful are for the car; we have one of each in both cars. A car cane–I learned about that from my mother-in-law who does use one–and a swivel cushion make sitting down and getting out of the car far easier.

Two gotchas about the car cane. Some have all kinds of extra stuff–flashlight, window breaker, seat belt cutter–you get the idea. That’s not one of the gotchas. I just threw that in to see if you were paying attention.

The rubber handle of some car canes comes off. Imagine that you’ve just lowered yourself into your seat and dutifully removed the cane from the hook it attaches to. And then you close the door and hear (and feel) a loud clunk.

Whoops! The handle is still in your hand, but the rest of the cane is still in the door, blocking it from closing.

The other gotcha has to do with the user’s remembering to unhook the cane before attempting to close the door. Those canes are pretty strong, but both of ours have a few nicks from my failure to unhook the cane first.

The swivel cushion is a whole different story; it won’t get caught in the door unless it falls out when you get out–highly unlikely. It’s important to get a cushion that fits within the depressed part of the car seat. And it’s more of a challenge to use if the seat is so far forward that you must watch your knees while using it.

Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful gadget to keep from having to slide into a car seat.

Not to mention the fact that swiveling is fun if you have the kind of sense of humor I have.

That’s all, folks. If you’re older, or if some of the needs I’ve described apply to you, Amazon has a good variety of car canes, swivel cushions, and shower bars. And, by all means, if you care about some older person who might benefit from one or all of these things, they make great–albeit strange–gifts.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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