There are some things I know now, that if I knew a few years ago I would do or practice to prepare for getting old. Something I never, ever, thought about, at least not very seriously, in fact I still don’t think about it much.
But maybe I and you should. However, after 18 months of stroke recovery, I am way better prepared than you likely are.
My Mom and some others I know are battling arthritis in their hands , knees and hips, making the job of dressing, moving around and opening things more difficult. Just complicating the activities of daily living.
So here’s a few tips to plan now, get ahead of the curve starting with your washroom and shower situation.
Washroom and shower:
1). Get yourself a shower chair and kit out your shower and/or bathtub or jacuzzi with grab bars. These will become essential tools to master in keeping your independence and hygiene as you age. Try it out now, while its still relatively easy for the agile youngster that you are. Think about placement of shower products and any additional customizations required or desired to easily access soap, shampoo, conditioner and the like from a seated position on your shower chair. Can you reach the shower and/or tub water controls? Ladies, if you use a razor to shave your legs or other body parts, now might be a good time to re-think that strategy. Think about how you would tackle that task with one hand or if your mobility became compromised. You may want to find your local spa to handle periodic waxing. (Half price waxing Wednesday is for me every 5 weeks in my little town). One thing for sure. Your body hair will just keep growing and growing and it’s the one item that will drive you crazy if you haven’t got your situation figured out. Sure someone might help you shave but they also might not, and if you’re really determined like me that will make for nothing but trouble ( slipping hazards).
2). Do a walk-through one morning. Prepare your shower the night before with a chair. (order online at Shoppers Drug Mart or Amazon has a good selection, based on what I saw, I would go for the something like the Moen as the chair has a back and a grab bar arm rest. But there are many versions at all price points and features. (Red Cross will also rent you one)Read the reviews. What are people saying about their use of the product?. If you like or don’t like a product you purchased, leave a helpful review, (not a rant don’t be that crusty, unhelpful old guy or gal), and sincerely help someone else struggling to make good decisions.
We did a bathroom reno a few years ago and installed this sweet steam shower system with built in benches. Its amazing, almost like I knew I would need this kind of setup! Instead of just the crazy person in me that wanted seating for four people – think fun spa afternoons with girlfriends.
Go through the motions and see how it all works for you logistically, wash and condition your hair, shave your legs, what works well and what needs more thinking to perfect your setup. You will thank yourself for doing this now rather than trial and error later when someone or ones will be watching you like a hawk. Innovation and initiative will be discouraged by your caregivers – too freaking dangerous – not on their watch! Figure it out ahead of time and please yourself. Get used to it. Perfect your routines so you don’t get stuck with someone else’s.
3). Vanity: carry your walk-through on to your vanity as you dry off and prepare for your day. Take notice of everything. Are your bath mats slippery or stable? Do towels stay on you easily or fall off? Perhaps you need a terry robe? Short or long or both, depending on your mood? Slippers? Maybe not anymore. Try those comfy socks with the grippy plastic nubs on the soles. I have a pair my lovely Scottish Auntie Irene bought me – she calls them reading socks and they are great for more than reading. Try a pair out soon. Is your vanity and chair the right height. Can you easily reach what you need your makeup and other products? Where do you brush your teeth? Is everything easily attainable?
4) Closet: and now into your closet to choose your clothes for the day. Is your closet well organized or a messy-free-for-all. Get it organized to easily pull out what you need for your day. Socks and underwear, perhaps located in the same drawer within easy reach. Bra or cami too. My awesome mountain friend Carla and I have been through my closet twice already organizing and-re-organizing, with one more session planned to perfect the art, so to speak.
5) wardrobe: This probably doesn’t bear too much thinking ahead of time as you will figure it out as you go based on your lifestyle. I have settled on a basic wardrobe of tights or jeans, cami’s with built-in-bras and scarfs (cool and decorative or warm depending on the season). I’m also a big fan of short dresses for spring and summer. Today I’m wearing a Polo tennis dress( a $20 fab find at Winners a couple of years ago, size 8 still fits!). On the topic of panties, the sexy thong is a thing of the past at the moment. I just recently tried some hanky panky brand panties that don’t seem to fit like they used to ( then again, there is not nearly as much hanky panky going on as there used to be).
I have settled on Hanes boy-shorts for maximum comfort and discretion when swinging one’s legs into and out of chairs and cars wearing the aforementioned short tennis dress.
6) Dressing Area – this is a new idea for me. I have a small comfy chair and side table in a corner of my bedroom where I get dressed in the morning. I keep a basket on the table with hair clips, moisturizer and other sometimes required items for easy access while dressing.
Things to try:
Put on your bra from the bottom up, as I described the other day. If you lose use of your fingers or it becomes too painful, this may be your best option if you want to continue to wear a bra every day. You could also ask for help rather than do-it-yourself, but speaking from experience, it’s better to be self- sufficient on this and as many other topics as possible. Try it now while you are still young-ish and have good flexability and mobility.
The one thing I still ask myself when I encounter a problem is this ” How can I problem-solve my way out of this hole, mess, obstacle”. Guess what. You can think your way through anything. Break it down, don’t panic! Think it through logically, do it in front of a mirror.
6). Dressing hacks.
First I’ve discovered lock laces. If you have kids you may already know about these. Elastic laces that lock in place replace shoelaces that tie. I love them and I can operate them with a single hand and they look great (generally nicer than they do in the picture below). And have ordered a few extra to take to Toronto with me for my Mom and my friend Ann to try.
Second Dysem plastic – I have a square of this that I was given in the hospital and I use it everyday on my vanity to get a good grip on my cold cream jar as I open it. Also useful in the kitchen. Below is my vanity with the surprising number of things I use most days. I keep my vitamins here so I don’t forget important things like omega oil (brain food), glucosamine(joints) and Vitaminm D (happiness and energy).
A magnifying mirror is also a good score to catch those nsty chin hairs that never stop growing – you know the ones I mean = o long sometimes you can”t believe it has lived undetected for so long. Why didn’t someone tell you? Sadly,they never do. I keep tweezers in a nearby glass with my make-up brushes.
Remember if you can’t figure it out, someone else probably has, so don’t forget to search Youtube or google it.
Coming soon: Kitchen