Keep Them Moving
Mobility is closely tied with a senior's independence and quality of life. Getting around the house, traipsing through the neighborhood, cruising down to the store or to visit a friend - all these activities help keep the body healthy and the spirits up. The more activity your aging loved ones are able to maintain, the better chances they'll have for staying mobile. Unfortunately, loss of mobility can start a downward spiral in physical and mental health.
Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
If your older loved ones are still on-the-go, that's great. If they don't exercise regularly, encourage them to do so in order to maintain their mobility. Balance work such as Tai Chi is excellent for seniors because it gently conditions the body and mind. Talk to your loved one's doctor about other exercise options. Even water aerobics and weight lifting can be excellent for some seniors. Pumping a little iron helps build muscle and increase bone density.
Less Mobile Doesn't Mean it's Time to Sit it Out
If your parents or aging loved ones have already experienced decreased mobility, don't let them give up. They may be ashamed or reluctant to use assistive devices such as a cane or a walker, but once they get the hang of it, they can be out and about again. Yes, it's more difficult. But it's crucial that they stay as active as they're able so they don't suffer from more serious deterioration. Sometimes lost mobility can even be restored through physical therapy or exercise, or adjustments in medication.
Questions to Ask the Doctor About Mobility:
- What exercises would you recommend?
- Would physical therapy be beneficial?
- Is there an assistive device that would help?
- Could medications be affecting mobility?
- Is depression or anxiety a factor rather than physical limitation?
Get the Right Equipment
Huge improvements in durable medical equipment have enhanced seniors' mobility. Consider one or more of these for your loved one:
- Stair lift
- Porch lift
- Automatic door openers
- Driving aids
- Wheelchair accessible vans/SUVs
- (Many can be adapted.)