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Managing Mobility Problems in Seniors
For many seniors, quality of life includes participating in hobbies, maintaining independence and getting out into the world. Mobility issues can physically prevent someone from spending their time doing activities they enjoy and can lead to social isolation, depression and declining health.
Many adults begin to limit their activities as they age, believing that they are able to do less physically. But remaining active is the key to aging gracefully and maintaining health.
Addressing health issues that affect mobility, and taking preventative measures, can improve physical and mental wellbeing.
For those that have existing mobility issues that are more limiting, assistive technologies and devices can help seniors continue to foster social connections and maintain quality of life. This can include GPS devices for seniors with dementia, scooters or wheelchairs, and home monitoring systems like fall sensors.
How can seniors prevent mobility issues, and keep existing problems from getting worse?
- Staying active. Older adults should always talk to their doctor before starting a new exercise program. If approved, regular exercise can strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Whether it’s walking, dancing, or stretching – regular physical activity is key to maintaining mobility. According to a recent study, improvements were seen in all the 70-to-90-year-olds who added some physical activity to their weekly routines over about two years, and those who got more exercise saw greater results.
- Keeping a healthy weight and a healthy diet. It’s simply easier to get around without carrying extra weight, and there is less stress on bones and joints. This is important at any age, but weight issues can be especially impactful for seniors.
- Knowing the effects of medication. Seniors should discuss the side effects of their medications with their physician. Some can cause balance or alertness issues, which can have an impact on mobility.
- Identifying fall hazards in the home. Falls can not only be caused by balance or mobility issues, but injury can make mobility issues worse. Clearing the home of clutter and loose rugs or wires, ensuring that rooms have good lighting, using night-lights in bathrooms and removing other trip hazards can all help prevent falls.
- Asking a doctor about walking aids. For those that are a little bit unsteady on their feet, a cane or walker can be used. A doctor or physical therapist can recommend specific types and styles. They can also adjust the walking aid to the correct height and ensure that it is being used properly.
- Combining activity and social connection. Participation in community activities is one of the most enjoyable ways to keep seniors mobile. Local hospitals, senior centers, and community centers often have exercise or walking programs.
- Sharing concerns with a medical professional. Certain diseases like arthritis, heart disease and dementia can affect mobility. Risks can often be reduced if the medical condition is diagnosed and treated.
Comfort Keepers® can help. About one-quarter of Americans over age 65 need help with everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and getting in and out of bed or a chair. Our trained caregivers can help with these and other tasks, while engaging clients in activities that improve quality of life. Comfort Keepers can also provide support for physician-approved diet and exercise plans, provide transportation to appointments and community events and can assess a home for safety issues and fall hazards. For more information on how we can help, contact your nearest Comfort Keepers® office today.
U.S. Census Bureau. “Mobility is Most Common Disability Among Older Americans” Web. 2014.
WebMD. “Home Health Care Tips.” Web. 2017.
Mayo Clinic. “What it takes to be agile at any age” Web. 2018.
Reuters. “Exercise prevents elderly mobility problems, and the more the better.” Web. 2017.