Today I read a really interesting and timely article about determining if you or someone you know has a risk of falling or other mobility issues. I’d highly recommend that any of us over “a certain age” keep these in the back of their mind.
The article made this really important point:
Mobility is essential for senior independence. But many people don’t find out about their older adult’s developing mobility problems until they get seriously injured in a fall.PREVENT FALLS WITH 5 WARNING SIGNS OF MOBILITY ISSUES IN SENIORS
I hadn’t thought about this, myself, but it’s not just injuries from falling that lead to problems with standing and walking. As the article I read points out, “the natural effects of aging like muscle loss, balance issues, and joint stiffness all contribute to loss of mobility.” Oh. That sounds like nearly everyone I know over the age of 60!
Here’s what to watch out for. Some is obvious, some may not be.
That one seems obvious. Sure, sometimes people just trip or have their annoying puppy pull them down (that would be me), but people who have started to shuffle when they walk or have trouble keeping their balance are more likely to fall. These need to be addressed, especially if there are more than two falls a year or if they can’t get back up once they fall, which can be problematic for people living alone. Things that can help are grab bars in bathrooms, eliminating slip hazards, and hand rails (for example, where my stepmom lives, they even have hand rails along the walls).
2. Avoiding the stairs
This might be sort of subtle, but if your family member will do anything to avoid even a few stairs, it’s a warning sign. I know someone who goes down all stairs backwards. That’s a sign!
3. Having difficulty with sitting and standing
I hadn’t thought of this one at all, but now that I think about it, I do see it. Sometimes people are dizzy when standing up, or lack the strength to get into or out of bed. It’s recommended that strength exercises be a part of all of our later years, to be able to do these daily activities, and to talk to a medical professional about what causes the dizziness.
4. Having trouble with balance
I know someone who’s dealing with balance issues, and they can really be frustrating, because so many different things can cause it. Is it a medication issue, low blood pressure, inner ear issues, slow reaction times, vision issues, muscle weakness (like in number 3), and even normal aging. The article recommended that canes and walkers can help a lot.
5. Skipping exercise
One of the things we focus on here at Hearts Homes and Hands is helping clients get plenty of safe exercise, since it will help with many of the issues we are talking about today. If someone used to enjoy getting out and walking, practicing yoga, cycling, or doing some other form of exercise and suddenly doesn’t want to do it, that’s a sign that impaired mobility may be the root of the issue.
How Can We Help?
Our caregivers are trained to help out folks experiencing impaired mobility and with implementing practices recommended by health-care providers for improving mobility. If a client wants it, we can help with making the home environment safer, accompany them on walks, and figure out ways to deal with decreased mobility that let them keep leading independent lives.
Let us work with you to make a plan to help you or someone you care about deal with decreased mobility in a pro-active way. Call us at 254-627-1200, and our personal assistance professionals will help you come up with a plan. We have lots of ideas!