For seniors to be able to live at home as long as possible, functional mobility is essential. Each year, one in three seniors over the age of 65 experience a fall.
Functional mobility is one of the most important factors to helping seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible. Each year, one-third of the population over age 65 experiences a fall. After a fall, seniors often suffer from decreased confidence and a decline in mobility.
Mobility has other important benefits for seniors too, like preventing isolation and promoting emotional support. Increased mobility also contributes to better mental health, cardiovascular health, weight control, increased flexibility, and resistance to injury.
Mobility Provides Independence
Mobility outside the home is crucial to allow you to reach vital commodities in your community and to enable you to participate in social and physical activities that increase your quality of life. Mobility also contributes to healthy aging, as your body naturally needs movement to maintain healthy function across all systems. So, it’s pretty clear why it’s important to find ways to improve or maintain mobility as you age.
Walking unassisted is one of the biggest factors that determines the extent to which you can live independently. Independence is defined by your ability to perform activities of daily living, such as:
- Using the toilet
- Getting in and out of chairs or beds
Improved mobility leads to better self-care and more successful independence. A senior who can get up from a chair, cook meals, and dress with minimal assistance can enjoy an independent life.
Mobility Products for Seniors
A decrease in mobility is one of the most significant issues for the aging population. Whether it is caused by disease or injury, or as a result of the aging process, loss of mobility is devastating for seniors who desire independence.
As such, lack of mobility can contribute to a much lower quality of life for seniors. Restoring or improving mobility can increase the opportunities to live your life to the fullest. A variety of products can help increase your mobility, such as:
- Compression stockings
- Lift chairs
- Bathroom safety products
The Dangers of Falling
The majority of hip fractures occur during falls, and about 90 percent of these fractures happen to seniors. Hip fractures require surgery and approximately one week in the hospital. Recovery can include long-term physical rehabilitation, a temporary stay in an assisted living facility, and more.
The likelihood of suffering a hip fracture increases tenfold every 10 years after the age of 50. Women are especially vulnerable due to a higher rate of osteoporosis. This is especially concerning, because mobility very rarely returns to the level it was before a hip fracture. Loss of mobility may be partly attributed to balance confidence, which is related to fear of falling. Meaning, those who have experienced falls may have a lower perceived mobility function.
To test balance confidence, a simple method called the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale is used. The test can be self-administered at home and consists of questions that assess your confidence in different walking scenarios, such as using stairs or navigating an icy walkway. A higher balance confidence score tends to go hand in hand with better performance in mobility tests.
Tips for Increasing Mobility
With less mobility, the world is harder for seniors to navigate, but there are ways to begin rebuilding your balance confidence and restoring your active lifestyle.
- Start or maintain an active lifestyle. We all know that a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to muscle strength. Staying as active as possible or beginning to increase activity now will engage your muscles, help you keep a stable weight, and improve your flexibility. Starting can be difficult, but there a few easy ways to get the ball rolling. You could join a senior group or take walks around your local park, for example. Just 20 minutes of walking per day can help you maintain an active lifestyle.
- Use the proper walking aid. Walking unassisted is fantastic, but if your balance is unsteady, not using a walking aid is dangerous and is not ideal. Select a walking aid that provides the highest level of mobility while still allowing your muscles to do some of the work. An aid that provides too much assistance can cause over-reliance and loss of muscle function.
- Maintain a healthy weight or start dieting if necessary. Being overweight causes your body to work extra hard to complete all of its necessary functions. Excess weight puts added pressure on your knees when you walk and go up and down stairs. Knee pain is one of the most common complaints amongst seniors.
- Work on your balance. Balance is the key to maintaining mobility and avoiding falls. Good balance comes from your core, back, hips, and buttocks. Consider senior strength training to build muscle, lose fat, and maintain your mobility.
Ready to Regain Your Independence?
Medical advances allow seniors the opportunity to overcome their mobility issues and regain their confidence, independence, and social lives. The right kind of assistance can be crucial to helping you recapture your freedom. Day-to-day activities that may be off-limits to you now can be enjoyed again with the addition of a proper mobility aid.
If you’re a senior struggling with a decline in mobility or you’ve experienced a fall that dramatically affected your confidence and balance, it may be time to consider a mobility aid. Adapt Home Health Care helps senior individuals feel safe and comfortable in their homes. With our large selection of home health care and mobility products to choose from, you can begin taking the first steps toward a more mobile and fulfilling life. Contact us through our website or give us a call at:
- Gore Pharmacy – 905-794-5003
- Woodland Pharmacy – 905-279-5353
- Truscott Pharmacy – 905-822-1615