Getting old is hard

Preventing functional decline and injury

Allison Kessler is a doctor living with spinal cord injury. She writes:

Getting old is hard, but it beats the alternative. This commentary explores some of the challenges of aging with a physical disability and the considerations taken to prevent further functional decline or injury during the ageing process.

While everyone has his or her own challenges with ageing, ageing with a disability is harder. Our threshold is lower. On a good day, with the use of my wheelchair, shower chair and an accessible environment, I am completely independent and able to go about my daily life. However, a change that might make something a little more difficult for an able-bodied person can make an activity completely impossible for those with disability.

Although it is sometimes hard as a physician to admit my limitations, if I, as a physician living with a spinal cord injury taking care of others with spinal cord injuries cannot ask for help or ask others to change environments or practices, who will do that for my patients? How can I expect my patients to protect themselves or to integrate back into their lives? Removing physical barriers and creating wheelchair access improves community, interpersonal, and professional reintegration for people with lower extremity mobility limitations. By speaking up about my needs, perhaps I can help to reduce stigma and improve access for the patients I care for on a daily basis.

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SOURCE:  Womens Midlife Health. 2022 Mar 2;8(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s40695-021-00072-5. PMID: 35232488 © 2022. The Author(s).

Getting old beats the alternative

Allison Kessler  1   2

1. Division of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, Shirley Ryan Abilitylab, 355 E Erie St, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA.

2. Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, 420 E Superior St, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA.

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