Mobility in the elderly is difficult to handle but there are plenty of ways you can do to improve mobility. Find out here!!!
Nowadays, People are living a longer and healthier life. Not only has lifespan improved over the past three decades, but so has health-span. Health-span refers to the quality of one’s life not just duration. The quality of life is directly related to the range of activity you can still enjoy.
This article will focus on the largest factor of life quality–mobility. As people age, they will face problems with moving. Their joints will tighten, their muscles will deteriorate. Mobility problems in the elderly are difficult to handle whether it’s due to injury, illness, or chronic factors.
According to the Social Security Administration, people in America get their retirement benefits at the age of 62.
Retirement is time for many people to travel or take on new fun jobs or handle old projects like buying or renovating a house. But for others, it is difficult to stay active and focused due to physical disabilities or limitations.
Mobility in the elderly starts to have an impact on their mental and emotional health. The thought of not being able to move around and work affects their quality of life.
If your loved one all of a sudden asks your help to stand, walk down the street, or walk upstairs then, these might be the first steps of immobility.
The first indication of a problem can be a little trouble while getting up but escalate into bigger issues requiring specialized facilities and equipment to help the movement, which may include the usage of a wheelchair, walking cane, folding mobility scooters, etc.
Why Does Mobility in the elderly matter?
Mobility is the key to maintaining independence for seniors and for people who are aging in place. A basic little movement can cause a large amount of intolerable pain or may even cause an injury that can cause immobility in the elderly.
Study shows that mobility is one of the most common disabilities in senior Americans. Around 40% of people aged 65 and above have difficulty walking or climbing.
This generally results in depression, inability to reach out for assistance, mental health, or insomnia.
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How to improve mobility in seniors?
Daily Exercise is very important for seniors in their later life. Everything is harder for people with less mobility, however, exercises are making it a little easier for the seniors.
Regular exercises allow you to walk and move around with good ease and make you feel more confident and stable.
Many activities that include stretching, strengthening, training, cardio, and balance exercises work efficiently for older adults to improve mobility.
Top 5 Exercises for the Elderly
As you are aware of the importance of mobility in the elderly, it’s time to work on it! Few situations may make walking or climb stairs a bit more difficult, However, you can still keep your feet on the ground until your golden years.
What to do before?
Even a small walk to your neighbor can be a challenging task. Make sure you consult your physician to know that the activity is safe. Warm-up beforehand and stretch to prevent any injuries.
Get proper shoes with sufficient support for your feet and wear comfortable and fitting clothes to maximize physical benefits. Low impact activities can benefit seniors with mobility issues to avoid the risk of injury.
The few safest exercises that are fun for seniors include walking, jogging, yoga, ballroom dancing, swimming, and cycling.
Practicing relaxation exercises can also help in mental health and improve mobility in the elderly.
Here are 5 exercises that can prevent immobility in elders, and maintain muscle and joint functions in the body.
Also Known as semi-sits, Chair squats are a good way to build leg strength which improves the mobility in elderly.
The bending of the legs will increase the strength and will allow a good flow of oxygen and blood around the joints. However, due to aging, many seniors cannot perform squats, hence the modifications are made.
Sit at the edge of the chair with knees at 90-degree at shoulder-width apart. Stand up in this position. Again after standing slowly sit back down with your back straight. If you need assistance, then use an armchair.
This exercise helps with the flexibility and stability of the shoulders. It improves mobility in the elderly with back, chest, and arms pain giving them a small workout.
Sit on your chair with an upright position with feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands in the goalpost position. Slowly bring your arms in front of your face and then return them to the starting position. You can use weights to make it more challenging.
Stretching your lower back can benefit your motion, reduce back pain, and increase the flexibility of ligaments and muscles.
Stretching that centers on the lower back portion also helps in relieving the stress and morning stiffness.
Sit on a chair in an upright position with feet flat on the floor. Twist the upper body so that shoulders move to your left side. Use chair handle or leg support to stretch deeply if needed. Hold for a few seconds and return to the start position.
This exercise helps to increase mobility in the elderly with standing and bending problems. Stretching the legs improves flexibility in the back of the thigh and also helps in balancing while standing or walking.
The Elderly Gym for seniors has shown the harmstring stretch for seniors in the video below
Place the heel of your feet on the edge of the chair. Hold the elevated leg straight and bend forwards until you feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Sit on a chair with feet flat on the floor. Place one hand at the back of your head and the other hand outstretched upwards. Bend over the side as if you are touching the floor, hold for a few seconds, and come back to the same position.
Activities other than exercises
Loss of mobility in elderly people is a real issue, but yes! it is preventable and treatable. There are many other ways to improve mobility in the elderly. Keeping up with a regular exercise routine can be off-putting for some seniors with less mobility.
Engaging them in some household activities or any other lightwork tasks can encourage your loved ones to keep moving more around their home.
Even a small walk from room to room can stretch the muscles and help in breathing.
You can improve mobility in the elderly with the help of swimming. This can offer great benefits if your loved one is mobile enough. A warm swimming pool can be fun and can help to ease their aching joints.
If your loved one is not mobile enough then swimming can be a hard task for them, however, many swimming pools have provisions for disabled people.
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Research states that many conditions contribute to falling, difficulties with walking and balance is one of them. One of the major things to improve the mobility in elderly is to improve the balance.
A fall can set you in one place for months, and if your leg or hip is broken then the mobility can end up for a year. Hence working on your hip, back, butts, and core muscles will help you to cover them.
Other than exercise, Tai Chi can help with mobility issues. It includes tender stretching and breathing exercises that will not tire the elderly. Simple yoga is also suitable for less mobile people.
Keeping a healthy diet
To remain fit as they can they need a proper and healthy diet. Elders who don’t move around as such require less amount of food and may not be able to intake vitamins, minerals, and fuel. Introducing high protein meals and snacks into a diet can help improve mobility in the elderly.
You can invest in some small pieces of exercise equipment to improvise the mobility in the elderly. Using wrist bands, weights, resistance bands can help to work a little hard for a few exercises.
The inflatable ball can be helpful for many movements like holding out the arms straight during stretching or when lying on the floor and lifting legs.
Seek help from a doctor about medical aids
Elderly’s who are a bit unstable on their feet can use a walker or a cane. Ask your doctors to recommend to you the specific type and style. A proper height can be adjusted to ensure the safety and usage of the walking aid.
Few diseases like heartaches, arthritis, and dementia can easily affect mobility in the elderly. However, these medical condition risks can be reduced efficiently if diagnosed and treated immediately.
Assisted Living Community
The assisted living community helps people with disabilities or immobilities. They help in everyday tasks like training, medical care, hygiene practices, and nutrition. They also help in boosting mobility in the elderly and young people.
When staying at home alone is no longer an option, an assisted living community offers all benefits to the elderly with additional resources and safety.
The muscles won’t build-up by sitting on the couch all day. Maintaining an active lifestyle is very important. It keeps the body flexible and helps you maintain weight. You can join a senior group, walk around parks, or meet people online.
Any activity is adaptable rather than staying immobile. Ask your loved ones to join a class, work on daily tasks, find something that intrigues and ask them to make it a habit. Living healthiest as possible can help the mobility in the elderly.
Take steps now to ensure great and healthy steps ahead.