Mobility Issues for Seniors
Many seniors are able to receive care at home to comfortably age in place. However, it doesn’t mean that they are always able to get around their homes as easily as they want to. For many seniors, mobility issues are an unfortunate side effect of aging and can make daily life very difficult. Mobility issues can also impact many seniors’ safety, independence, and make the activities of daily living very challenging.
Mobility issues can range from problems with walking, reaching for items, or using the bathroom or getting in and out of chairs. While these may seem like relatively small issues on their own, over time, they can drastically impact any senior’s ability to live independently and can drastically inhibit their quality of life. Mobility issues that impact a person’s steadiness while walking can also present a major safety issue and increase a senior’s already high chances of falling in the home.
It is important that seniors have the resources to prevent falls as falls can lead to broken bones, hospitalization, and serious pain and injury. Many seniors may have worsened mobility issues following their falls and need the assistance of a cane, walker or wheelchair. Some serious falls can even lead to death. Whether falls result in mobility issues or mobility issues result in falls, it is important to be aware of mobility issues in seniors and take the extra steps necessary to prevent these issues from impacting the senior’s overall quality of life.
When to Contact a Doctor About Mobility Issues
Many senior mobility issues can be remedied with walking aides or by making small changes in the home to better accommodate the senior’s needs. However, there are certain situations, where seniors may need to call their doctor about mobility issues. The following signs and symptoms are indicators that a senior may be struggling with mobility and that they may need professional assistance. The following mobility issues may require that seniors get professional help from a medical professional or in-home care provider:
- Seniors who repeatedly fall or trip without a known reason. This could be more than just a mobility or balance issue, this may indicate a problem with medication management, eyesight, dementia or even Parkinson’s disease and should be addressed by a professional.
- An inability to walk or move on their own. When seniors suddenly can’t or won’t walk or move on their own, especially short distances, it may be time that they see a medical professional. This is especially true if a family member is unable to help this senior move around safely. An inability or unwillingness to walk can be a number of issues ranging from depression to circulatory issues, an infection, early Alzheimer’s, a mild-stroke, or taking medications that have sedatives in them.
- Dizziness. Vertigo is a serious problem for seniors and constant complaints of feeling dizzy or lightheaded shouldn’t be taken lightly. This can be from high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, chronic pain or diabetes. Seniors who are dizzy or lightheaded are much more likely to unexpectedly fall and hurt themselves, so this issue needs to be addressed immediately.
- Noticeable issues with gait or balance. Seniors who walk with a limp, can barely walk on their own, veer to the side, get lightheaded while walking, or have issues staying balanced while walking or standing, may need to visit a doctor. Balance issues are actually main reason adults see their doctor. There may be a joint issue, a problem with vertigo or even an inner ear problem to blame. Seniors with these issues may also be suffering from nerve damage, muscle problems, brain conditions or they may be having a stroke.
Helping Seniors with Mobility Issues
There is good news. Many seniors with mobility issues are often able to get the help they need to regain mobility and stay active in their homes. Many doctors will prescribe therapies, treatments, or medications to help a senior regain strength and range of motion. Also, many families will engage a home care provider to help a senior with mobility issues. However, there are other small things that family members can do to set their senior loved one up for success.
Walking aides such as canes, walkers or wheelchairs can sometimes make little tasks much more manageable. Keeping the home accessible for seniors can also help prevent their mobility issues from interfering with their everyday lives. Seniors should stretch and exercise daily to increase range of motion and to make sure that their muscles are getting the necessary exercise to stay healthy. Mobility is easier when muscles are used regularly.
Seniors should also always wear proper footwear, even when in the home. This not only helps prevent falls, but it can make it much easier for seniors to get around safely. This means comfortable, low-heeled shoes with wide, rubber soles and good arch support. Seniors should not wear sandals, high heels, crocks, clogs or slippers. Giving seniors these opportunities to be successful, instead of helping them too much, can help any older adult restore their mobility and stay more active and independent.
There are many physical considerations that need to be taken into account with seniors who have mobility issues. However, there are also mental and emotional considerations as well. Many seniors, particularly those who have fallen in the past, have mobility issues because they have a fear of falling. Senior caregivers should help address these fears or help them get the professional counseling they may need. This is a very serious problem among many elderly individuals and is not something yo be overlooked.
Mobility issues are very serious for any senior adult, no matter what type of care they may be receiving. Taking extra steps to address and treat these issues can help any senior who may be struggling with mobility. If you still feel like your loved one would benefit from in-home care to maintain their independence at home, HomeCentris can help. Call our nearest office for a consultation to see if a home care services are right for you.