As we grow older, we expect to face some sorts of issues in terms of mobility — our joints will ache more, our muscles will be more stiff and we might find managing everyday tasks a bit more challenging.
Maintaining mobility at a certain level is extremely important for seniors. The less they can move, the less likely they are to leave the house, participate in different activities and continue to live a full and meaningful life.
Instead of letting wear and tear slow us down as we age, we should strive to manage any mobility issues. Not only to reduce pain and allow for more freedom of movement, but also to help us live the best life we can.
We’re all very well aware of the importance of moving and exercising. However, seniors should always consult their doctor before they start a new exercise program, especially if they suffer from serious health conditions.
Once the doctor gives the green light, the exercises should be tailored to the individual’s fitness level and focus on the particular challenges they are faced with.
The main focus should be strengthening muscles and improving flexibility. This can be achieved with exercises as simple as walking, stretching or even yoga for seniors.
Finding a senior-friendly fitness center may be a challenge at first, but it’s worth the effort. Working out in a group is also a great way to socialize and leave the home, thus reducing the risks of mental health issues that seniors who live alone and fail to exercise often face.
Keep a Healthy Weight
Being overweight is detrimental at any age, but it can be a significant challenge, and even a threat, in old age.
As the bones and joints age, they will find it more difficult to support the extra weight, which is why slimming down to a recommended weight becomes increasingly important.
Needless to say, crash diets and extreme methods are not the way. Introducing more movement, if possible, is a great place to start, as is switching to healthier food choices and limiting the intake of processed foods.
Identify Mobility Hazards in the Home
When mobility is limited, avoiding obvious fall hazards like rugs and wires may become increasingly difficult.
Removing any items of furniture and décor in the home that might cause the senior to trip or fall is highly advised. Clear the space of any unnecessary and loose rugs, hide all wires and cords, add non-slip mats to the kitchen and bathroom and install shower handles if need be.
A fall can result in very serious injuries after a certain age, and can only further hinder a senior’s mobility, so doing what we can to prevent them is paramount.
Be Familiar With the Effects of Medications
Certain medications can affect not only mobility, but balance and spatial abilities as well. This is why it’s important to know how certain medications will impact a patient.
Lightheadedness, dizziness or blurry vision can all be the side effects of certain prescription drugs. Reading the fine print carefully and talking to the doctors who have prescribed the meds should be a must before actually taking them.
Another crucial factor to keep in mind are drug interactions, and how a combination of drugs may affect a senior’s mobility.
Use Aids If You Need Them
Having to rely on a walking cane or a walker might seem at first glance a very limiting solution, and the senior may wish to leave it by the bed.
However, the right walking aid can significantly improve mobility, if used properly and if adjusted to the user correctly.
Ask your doctor or physical therapist what kind of walking aid would benefit you most, and make sure you go through the process of adjusting it to your body and the way you walk. Also, take some time to teach yourself how to use it best. You will need to adjust your walk somewhat and learn how much weight to transfer to the aid. But once you get that down, your mobility and your spatial limits should improve significantly.
We can’t afford to overlook or neglect the question of managing senior mobility. After all, staying mobile is one of the most effective ways to keep living a fulfilled life.