Safety in Motion

An older couple sitting on a couch smiling at the camera

I would never claim that getting older is easy, but there are ways to make it more pleasurable and much safer. Since November is fall prevention month, examining products and services that keep us from accidents and spills is a smart way to approach the winter season.

Older adults are often anxious about winter. When there’s ice and snow on the ground, walking is treacherous, so we spend more time indoors. The pandemic has only increased our hours inside our homes. This winter, it’s more important than ever that we create a safe environment for ourselves and our loved ones.

I live in a three-story townhouse, so devising a plan to age in place is something I’m concerned about. In fact, “100% of Canadians 65 years of age and older report that they intend to do whatever they can to stay active and maintain optimal health and independence and plan on supporting themselves to live safely and independently in their own home as long as possible,” according to a recent NIA/TELUS Health Survey.

Did you know that your bathroom is the most dangerous room in your home? Or did you know that the reason most older adults end up in long term care facilities is due to a fall?

Recently, a new initiative “Safe at Home by Motion: A Guide to Aging in Place” is helping me to see fresh and creative ways to remain in my home as long as possible.

Founded in 1985, Motion is Canada’s largest provider of mobility and home accessibility equipment. From a single North York store, the company has grown to 38 locations throughout Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company’s primary focus is mobility aids with home accessibility very much a growing part of the business, particularly during the COVID pandemic when more and more Canadians wish to age in place with confidence.

Recently, I spoke with Jeff Preston, Motion’s Director of Product and Marketing. He described what happens when a potential customer gets in touch with one of their locations. What I found most comforting is that Motion is not a DIY outlet where you’re left on your own to figure out how to retrofit your home for safety or how to install hardware or how to keep your accessibility measures in good working order.

In fact, Preston explains that the first thing that happens when you contact the company is “you’re connected to a Motion knowledgeable expert who walks you through each room of your home, guiding you while you decide together what needs to be accomplished.”

During COVID, Motion also offers a package for an assessment that is virtual to accommodate for different comfort levels. However, when you choose to welcome a representative in your home, Preston adds: “Motion teams are fully equipped with personal protective equipment to keep our clients and employees safe during this time. The pandemic has significantly changed the way we conduct in-person visits, but we have the necessary measures in place to put our clients’ minds at ease.”

What I admire about Motion is that “they own the outcomes of their action,” so you’re not on your own during or after the process of making your home safer; you’re not left on your own to solve issues. As Preston assures me, “If we say we’re going to do something, we do it.”

When I asked Mr. Preston about Motion’s most-requested products, he didn’t hesitate for a moment. “Stairlifts, bathroom bars and hand-held showerheads, beds and chairs that help you stand up without struggling, as well as walkers and scooters for getting outside” and there are many more accessibility aids that you can check out in their new brochure

Consultations are available within a few days of contacting the company.

No one is certain when we’ll be free of the danger of COVID-19, when our lives will return to normal. One thing I do know for certain is that the notion I once favoured of moving into a retirement home when I’m older has evaporated into thin air. And it’s not just the fear of coming down with a deadly virus. I now know the extent to which older adults are taken care of –or not taken care of– while residing in Canada’s long-term care facilities. These days, I’m making sure that I have a comprehensive financial solution and a strategy for a comfortable living arrangement that will allow me to age in place for as long as I’m able.

When I used to think about getting older, I imagined that everything would fall into place: finances, healthcare, support, and pleasant living conditions. I don’t believe that anymore. What I do believe is exactly as we were proactive about becoming educated, launching a career and raising a family, we’ll need to be just as busy with making certain that retirement and aging in place is a planned proposition. It will take thought, making reasonable decisions based on hard facts and expert knowledge, along with those people and companies, like Motion, that are able to help us to make aging as rewarding as possible.

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