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Functional Health

My three-year old granddaughter likes to collect rocks when she goes outside. When one of us adults take her outside we take the rocks from her before she goes inside. Except that one time when we didn’t. One day I noticed there was water on the floor after I washed clothes. I washed another load and it happened again. After several visits from the appliance repairman, he determined that several rocks had lodged in our washer. He removed rocks on two separate visits and ultimately opined that more were lodged in the washer we would need a one. Off to the appliance store we went.

When we selected the new washer, we had the option of adding a pedestal like our old one to give it some height so that I won’t have to bend down to put clothes in the washer or when I take them out. When I was in the store I pondered using the one we had (from the old washer) or purchasing a new one to match the new washer. After some thought I told my husband I think I prefer no pedestal. When the new washer was delivered, I had them take the pedestal away.

While I am used to having an eye-level washer, I thought about how having a washer of that height negates the need for me to bend over. I remembered that even in small things I need to assess the long-term impact to my overall health. (It’s my small way of balancing all the other poor choices I make!)

As we age, we need to maintain functional health. Functional health is the ability to perform daily activities required to meet basic needs. If I drop something on the floor I need to be able to easily bend down and retrieve it. I need to bend over and put my shoes on and bend over and pick up my grandson if he falls. Bending over stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips and strengthens the thighs and knees. Maintaining good range of motion in my back is vitally important to execution of daily tasks. The less I bend over the harder it becomes for me to do so with ease. This lower washer forces me to bend over to help keep my back strong. Small change, big benefit.

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