November 7, 2017 Jeff Conner of Pacific Mobility
It is our honor to assist and recognize Veterans on Veteran’s Day, and aim to pay respects to these brave individuals every day with simple gestures that can greatly improve quality of life.
Do something for someone that has sacrificed for you and yours: honor and take time to assist those that have served in the armed forces. Many veterans face issues that make mobility devices part of everyday life. Do something to recognize the more than 9.4 million veterans in this country this Veterans Day, by doing small things that can make an impact on the access and comfort of a disabled senior.
It is our honor to assist and recognize Veterans Day
This Veterans Day, make sure to recognize the underlying meaning of this important but often overlooked holiday. Veterans Day started November 19, 1919, as ‘Armistice Day’, which marked the end of WWI. In 1926, Congress deemed it a national annual holiday, becoming officially observed in 1938. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 by then-President Dwight Eisenhower, dubbing this day to serve as a way of honoring Americans that have served in the war. The holiday is recognized in Arlington, Virginia, with a national ceremony of remembrance at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Parades are nice, but some simple ways to honor seniors that have served include these gestures:
Help facilitate interaction and socialization. Go out of your way to help to foster engagement among veterans and peers; this might include a ride to a community event or accompanying a disabled veteran to a VA center or clinic. Provide social outlets, whether it is shopping or a local theater production, that will get the senior out and about, engaging with others. Check local assisted-living facilities and VA hospitals for activities, gatherings, and events that could be a chance to bring together like-minded peers. Social interaction has been shown to have many health benefits, so this can have an impact on overall well-being.
Treat veterans to the healing power of pets. Do you believe in the healing power of pets? Studies show that petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and alleviate stress; it is further asserted that pets provide companionship to seniors or shut-ins that brings purpose and joy to everyday life. If it isn’t feasible to give a pet to a senior that you know, consider taking your loved one to a local shelter, aviary, or farm to visit and interact with the animals. Some assisted living facilities may have scheduled visits from therapy-dogs or service animals; check local bulletin boards and online resources for more information.
Do something that improves accessibility. Do something to increase access to buildings, yards, or areas of the home for someone with a mobility issue or disability. This could include building a small ramp for a senior or installing a grip-bar for a disabled veteran. When someone has access, they have autonomy, and this can be integral to the identity and well-being of a senior who is trying to live independently or that has limited support and resources.
Advocate for independence. Advocate for the senior, veteran, or a loved one that is trying to live an independent lifestyle. Be the voice that argues for better living conditions, home renovations, or in-home care that allows some seniors to live in their own homes. Make efforts and advocate for solutions that improve autonomy, like stair lifts or walkers, and talk with the senior about allowing respite care or in-home caregivers in for additional services and support. While it may seem like an obvious solution to make life safer and easier, respect the senior by involving them in any discussion regarding their care and living arrangements.
Offer someone a lift. Sometimes, something as simple as a ride can be a blessing. Offer to give a senior, loved one, or veteran a ride and make their day a little bit easier. Many disabled seniors don’t want to ask for rides, especially when they require time, effort, or energy to get in and out of a vehicle. Think of the time that these individuals have given to others- whether serving in the military, being a parent, or working- and share some of it back with the offer of a lift.
Take time for a conversation. Got some free time? Pay a visit to a veteran that you know and make the time to talk without looking at a watch or hurrying out the door. Sometimes simply listening is something special for someone who doesn’t get out much or that has limited social interactions. Keep the cell phone in your car or turned-off to prevent distractions, if possible.
Honor a veteran this Veterans Day, and every day
Don’t wait around until November to show a veteran appreciation for their service, while simply doing something for someone else. Use these tips to make an impact on the life of someone that lives with a mobility issue or disability- and that has dedicated a portion of their life to protecting the lives of all Americans.
Do something thoughtful and kind any time, but pay particular attention to helping someone with a disability increase access with mobility aids when observing the Veteran’s Day holiday this year. Talk with mobility retail professionals to find the best aids to enhance access, increase independence, and improve quality of life for someone you care about.