As we come to the end of October, it bears a look back at the importance of this month for aging in place.
Every month has its particular causes, observances, and notable dates. October certainly is no exception, and the case can be made that the month of October is right up there at the top as far as recognizing aging in place activities and the professions that serve this market – as well as some of the issues we are concerned about with our aging in place clients.
Each October – the entire month – is devoted to a major specialty that helps us retain our mobility or restore it when it is compromised. October is “National Physical Therapy Month.” Physical therapists – PTs – are an important aspect of creating effective aging in place solutions. Sometimes they restore wellness and other times they look for ways to eliminate issues or prevent existing ones in a home from becoming ones that might cause a new or recurring physical injury.
Wellness in the home cannot be overemphasized, and to the extent that PTs can help us eliminate specific issues in the home or the various ways that we are using our home (including the furniture, cabinets, appliances, controls, bath fixtures, and other elements in the home with which we interact), the longer, safer, happier, and independent lives we are going to live.
In a similar way, yesterday (October 27th annually) was “World Occupational Therapy Day” to call attention to the importance of occupational therapists – OTs – in helping people to remain independent in their homes as they age in place. The month of April is the counterpart to “National Physical Therapy Month” as being designated “National Occupational Therapy Month” in the United States – conveniently spaced six months apart from each other. Both specialties are important to aging in place, but the OT is probably more connected to the issues facing those who are aging in place while the PT is the better known to the public. There still is a large misunderstanding of the role and importance of the OT outside of an injury or illness.
October is playing our song as they say with the designation of it containing “National Aging In Place Week” – a specific nod to the work we do and the importance of keeping people in their homes as the years go by. Of course, we know that aging in place begins at birth (while many articles tend to portray this as such an issue affecting or involving seniors) and extends a lifetime. There are many types of interventions, solutions, and design treatments we can offer all along the age and ability spectrum from birth onward.
Most eveyone would agree that either the kitchen or the bath, or both, puts the sizzle in home design. The television design and makeover shows, the home and garden shows around the country, the magazines and websites devoted to kitchen or bath design and treatments, and the many kitchen and bathroom showrooms around the country illustrate this. When people think of remodeling their present home or are considering another one (either an existing home or new construction), the kitchen or the bath s one of the first areas of focus.
To this end, October has been “National Kitchen & Bath Month.”
Other issues of concern to us as aging in place specialists and professionals that are called out for recognition in October include “Disabled Awareness Month,” “Active Aging Week” (October 1-4), “Emergency Nurses Week” (October 6-12, 2018), “National Gerontological Nursing Week” in 2019 and every other year from September 28-October 2, 2019), “Pediatric Nurses Week” (October 7-11, 2019), and “World Stroke Day” in 2019 and each year on October 29 (tomorrow).
Other months have their notable days, dates, weeks, and observances, but October is especially full of events and occurrences that we want to recognize for aging in place purposes. Notice the number of professionals that we rely upon for their help with aging and independence issues that are included for recognition this month.
Kitchen and bath design probably needs no special month as it always seems to captivate the interests of people, but focusing thirty-one days on it is still a good way to direct attention to this key aspect of home design. It’s nice that they put this observance in a month with the most days in it to get every bit of additional attention. The same thing applies to the other causes and events that are recognized as month-long observances during October.
As strokes impact so many people and are found in so many people as mobility, sensory, and cognitive issues as well as being originally a traumatic condition that potentially becomes a progressive concern, this issue receives our focus. This third leading cause of death in the United States can lead to other complications and the recurrence of the evnt itself. It is fitting that we end our discussion of October aging in place events with one that significantly factors into our discussion and approach.