Within Reach

Upwardly Mobile

Last month, after the holidays, I devoted a few hours to rearranging my cabinets to accommodate some new kitchen gadgets. Because I am exactly 5' tall, I can only reach the first shelf of my cabinets on my own, and fitting everything I need into that prime real estate is a challenge.

I used my stepstool to climb onto the kitchen counter, then stood on the counter to rearrange my glasses and measuring cups, all the while wishing ruefully that my home were not so tall.

Then right after New Year's, I heard that a close friend had been in a serious car accident. She is all right, but is confined to bed to heal. That same week, I heard that a family friend I've known my whole life was having a progressively harder time moving safely within her two-story home. So many things, so out of reach.

Because common sense tells us this problem will only intensify, our "Welcome Home" cover story describes ways that mobility equipment can help — and ways to make sure they fit comfortably into home environments. "Lighter" mobility equipment, such as bath safety and door opening systems, has long been thought of as the realm of entry-level DME dealers. But they can represent crucial add-on sales even to rehab suppliers — and more importantly, they can be crucial to enabling rehab mobility clients to use their equipment safely and fully in their homes. That can mean greater compliance and greater physical, emotional and social benefits all around.

Use our checklists the next time you do a home assessment — or sell ADLs or home accessibility products — to make sure your customers are getting all the benefits they can.

Speaking of greater benefits, don't miss the great stuff in our Seating & Positioning Handbook, mailed with this issue. The Handbook also talks about the impact of home environments on rehab clients — check out associate editor Elisha White's feature on the challenges presented by seating surfaces other than beds and wheelchairs. The Handbook also includes the latest info (at press time) on positioning reimbursement, as well as new products and news on seating and positioning manufacturers and technologies.

While topics such as seating and positioning have long been Mobility Management staples, this year we will also look at the bigger picture — how those products impact your clients' entire lives and complete environments. Our July issue, for instance, will feature "home makeover" case studies, starting from the garage and front door, all the way through the kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms.

The recent White House Conference on Aging (reported on in this issue by managing editor Sandra Bienkowski) concluded not only that seniors want to stay in their homes as they age, but that legislators should help make that possible. And we already know that people with medical conditions want to be at home. All that remains is for us to help make it so.

This article originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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