Nine out of 10 seniors prefer to grow old in their own homes according to the AARP, American Association of Retired Persons. With longer life expectancies and an increased risk of disabilities, what are the chances?
Deloris Pohl, 89, has been living in Mount Pleasant her entire life. When she married Howard Pohl, 90, in 1948, they built their home together and have lived in it ever since.
Five years ago, Howard was hospitalized for complications with his lungs. He was put into an induced coma for a week and spent the rest of his two months in Medicare.
“Ever since I’ve come out of there I couldn’t walk,” said Pohl. After being released, he received therapy in his home but it only got worse. “If I stand up I’m going to fall over because I have no balance left; with our age you don’t recover,” he said.
With the help of their three children living in Mount Pleasant, they are able to keep up with the demands that come with being a homeowner.
“It’s hard to… grasp, that this has happened to him you know,” said Deloris, as the two reminisced on times of the past: Howard playing baseball, working on his parent’s farm and always being on the go.
“It can be frustrating,” said Deloris, but they have been able to make it work.
Disability refers to a reduced ability to perform activities such as walking, getting out of bed, using the toilet, bathing, cooking, moving around, driving or simply using your legs or hands because of a deteriorating strength, mobility, pain or other physical or cognitive challenges.
To help improve Howard’s strength, his family thought it would be best for him to temporarily live at the Isabella County Medical Care Facility in Mt. Pleasant, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.
For 20 days in November he worked on his mobility through varying types of therapy.
Visiting twice a day, Deloris would bring Howard freshly ironed clothes in the afternoon and be there with him during lunch and dinner. According to Howard, the meals were delicious but even that didn’t stop him from wanting to return home.
His wish came true two days after his 90th birthday and just in time for Thanksgiving. Three times a day Howard is continuing his therapy from home, working on strengthening his muscles in his hands and legs one step at a time.