In our work with elders, we look for ways for people to age at home safely. Accessibility equipment can make the difference between having to move to higher level of care like assisted living, or remaining at home. We wanted to share Amy Muller’s story with you about how she became involved in this industry. The company she works for provides an amazing array of home equipment and we have a link at the end of her article to access their brochure. Be aware that much of this equipment may not be covered by insurance.
It was five years ago on a beautiful May afternoon when I received a phone call that would change my life. My daughter was at a friend’s end of the year swim party and I was told I needed to hurry because she had fallen off a swing and hurt her head. I knew this time it was different. I could just sense it. I hurried to the friend’s home to find it swarming with kids, neighbors, and paramedics. Kendra had gotten onto a hammock with four friends and the brick column holding up the hammock had collapsed under their weight. The bricks came raining down on top of the girls and smashed Kendra’s spinal cord at C-6. She was instantly paralyzed and and we quickly learned that she had quadriplegia. This means she has no use of her hands and no use or feeling of her body below her collar bone. For a year we didn’t know if she was going to survive. She had to relearn how to breathe, swallow, talk, eat, and get around in a wheelchair to name a few things.
After three years of transferring my daughter Kendra multiple times a day from bed to wheelchair, my back finally went out. One of our trusted friends told me, ” You better take care of yourself or you will be disabled yourself.” He had seen this happen too many times with other parents in my situation. With four daughters to raise, I knew I had to find a solution. I was fortunate to see a YouTube video of a lady with quadriplegia using a lift to move herself independently from bed to her wheelchair. I found the distributor was Accessible Systems and my daughter was able to try out the Surehands Lift in our home. Within minutes she was able to get herself in the lift. We had found the solution! I applied for grants and was able to fund the SureHands Lift. It made all the difference and literally saved my back.
I have found my passion in life is to advocate for the needs of people with disabilities and seniors to age in place. I now educate others on the many options available to help them be independent for life. It is all about helping others.
Let me tell you about two of our clients. The first one is 92 years old and she takes care of her 70 year old son who has Cerebral Palsy. She has been able to take care of him at home, because of the lift that we have provided has enabled them both to age at home. Also, when she fell down in his room and couldn’t get up, her daughter was able to pick her up with the lift. She said, “I don’t know what we would have done, if we didn’t have the lift.” We also have a client who is 65 and had had paraplegia for 25 years. He had worn out his shoulders and had gotten bed sores from not being able to get out of bed. He was ready to end his life and felt worthless. Once he got his lift, his occupational therapist said, “This is the first time I have seen him smile in 6 months.” It is wonderful privilege to be able to give back to our community by giving people knowledge and options that help them regain hope and independence.