Who I Am
My name is Dr. Murray Waldman. I am a 71-year-old recently retired former rehabilitation physician. My professional career consisted of being involved in the physical rehabilitation of patients who suffer major strokes or extensive surgery due to advanced medical conditions. The patients I worked with unfortunately had significant disabilities as a result of these events, and the goal of my rehabilitation therapies was to enable my patients to return to their homes whenever possible. Almost always, their return to their homes depended on how able my patients were to make huge and often expensive changes to their homes. Due to overcrowding in the healthcare system, my patients often had less than one month to make substantial changes in order to make their homes accessible.
The IA Concept
When I retired, I was aware of two truths. One is that almost all of us are temporarily able-bodied and that even baring major health events our ability to move freely becomes more difficult as we age. My family history was not good, with both my parents having serious mobility issues as they aged. They were only able to remain in their own home because it was one level, and they also had the help of full time caregivers.
My wife and I decided we were facing a deadline, that at a certain point the three story home that we loved would be challenging if not impossible for us to live in. We had four choices. We could: Move to a retirement home, purchase a condo, rent an apartment, or renovate our home. Once the process began, we realized not only how few resources exist for a preventative renovation, but also how unappealing every mobility solution was. Our goal is to age comfortably in our home, not feel like we are living in a hospital room.
We quickly realized there were three separate types of renovations to undertake. The basement and the third floor were essentially new construction, while the main floor remained largely untouched except for some minor modification. Many of the items necessary for accessible living are not intuitive, and although we are working with talented architects and contractors, many of the recommendations are based on my own experience rather than their expertise with accessibility. Currently, our focus is on structural integrity, to provide a stable backbone for possible patient lifts or other supportive aids. Floors are being texturized, plugs are moving up, and we are making our home realistically livable for our future.
After finding so little comprehensive information on accessibility, I decided to create IA Living, a resource space where those looking to make their homes more accessible can do so in a way that makes their home functional while keeping its aesthetic integrity. If you’re looking to renovate your home, I’ve created a checklist marking off what you should be keeping in mind. IA also has a list of resources from around the web, so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to your mobility.
So Why Stay Home?
There are many reasons why seniors want to remain in their homes. Personally, staying put is more appealing to me, and I want to be able to enjoy the same activities I do now as I age. I also like my privacy and the area I live in, which would be somewhat lost in an assisted living facility or condo. I’m not alone in this, over 90% of seniors state that given the choice, they would prefer to stay in their homes. IA Living aims to make this possible before a traumatic event so that seniors can have confidence in their homes right now. Staying in your home is an achievable goal if the right mechanisms are put in place, and the goal of IA Living is to help guide you through that process.