DEAR ABBY: I was cheered by the letter from Mrs. Virginia Harry calling attention to the fact that some seniors have extreme difficulty rising from low or even normal seats. I too have used end tables as seats in doctors' offices.
After months of embarrassment at frequently having to ask for assistance to get to my feet, I developed a self-help trick: When going out of the house, I carry a tote bag containing two firm cushions. The cushions raise any seat four to five inches. I can use these cushions on the seats of cars and on chairs in offices and restaurants, and I cherish the independence they afford me.
Perhaps some other "mobility impaired" readers will find this helpful until the furniture designers come to our aid. -- HELEN PFAFFENBERGER, SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR HELEN: Thank you for an inventive solution that is easily available to anyone who needs it. Not everyone agreed that redesigning the furniture is the answer for people who have difficulty getting up and down, however. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: This is in response to Mrs. Virginia Harry, who considers herself among that growing segment of our population known as "the graying of America." She asked that the furniture industry recognize their need for couches and chairs from which they can comfortably rise.
Abby, let the designers of couches and chairs tend to their business as they will, for we CAN comfortably rise, by building strong muscles around those aging bones.
I am an aerobics instructor and personal trainer who loves to work with people 55 to 93 (the age of my oldest participant). Many seniors have abandoned their easy chairs for fitness walks, aerobics and line-dancing classes, and strength training. When they finally do sit down during their busy daily lives, any chair or couch will do, and they have no problem getting back up when it's time.
I hope your readers will consider a weekly exercise regime to help build their strength. What a difference they'll see in a very short time. Here's to health and fitness at any age. -- CANDY CORLEY, FOXBORO, MASS.
DEAR CANDY: I'm printing your letter as a reminder that growing older does not mean becoming sedentary. A healthy, flexible body is available to those who work for it. Of course, consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.