Is a parent or loved one finding it harder to get around? Is their independence being curtailed because of mobility issues?
If this is happening, there are steps you can help them take to get moving again and counter the response to becoming more sedentary.
When we’re mobile, we’re able to move around freely. We can get to where we want to go, whether it’s across the room or down the street.
Losing mobility is often the result of changes that occur as we grow older, such as becoming more difficult to walk, keep our balance or maintain our physical strength, according to the National Institute on Aging. These changes often lead to falling, greatly impacting the ability to visit family and friends or participate in activities.
The following can also result from loss of mobility for older adults:
Older adults who have lost some of their mobility may also find that they struggle with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing or grooming. Help may also be needed to get into or out of bed.
Those who are not able to be as mobile as they once were may find themselves no longer participating in physical activities or exercises. Unfortunately, this will likely contribute to a greater loss of movement as they grow older.
They may find themselves no longer exercising or being physically active which can contribute to less mobility. Many older adults spend on average between 9 and 13 hours a day sitting which can have a negative impact on their health. Finding ways to interrupt long periods of sedentary behavior should be a priority.
Studies have shown that less than half of those 65 and older meet physical activity guidelines. Taking steps to maintain your mobility can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Even moderate movements provide health advantages.
Taking walks or moving around the house more is beneficial. If you have access to a swimming pool, take advantage of the support water provides while allowing you to exercise your muscles.
Reach out for assistance if you need help developing a routine. Remember, almost any activity that gets you moving counts. If going to a gym and doing repetitions isn’t for you, how about dancing or taking part in stretching exercises.
If you’re unable to stand – or for long periods – there are also several seated exercise routines that you can try, including non-impact aerobics. You’ll find you can still strengthen different areas of your body, including your back, chest, abdomen, arms and legs.
The less mobile a person is, the higher the risk of falling and becoming injured. If the muscles are weakened, coordination and balance also suffer. Unfortunately, when people feel unsteady, they instinctively begin to move less which in turn can make them weaker.
The good news? It’s never too late to improve your balance. Begin with stretches and walking short distances. Discuss with your doctor safe ideas for you to try.
What you eat affects your ability to move, according to Harvard Medical School. How? The nutrients help build bone, energize your muscles, repair tissue and keep your brain active and your heart pumping, all required for movement.
Diet can also influence your risk of developing chronic diseases that greatly impact your ability to remain mobile. The right amount of calories can also help you avoid becoming overweight, which can make it more difficult to move.
Older adults may hesitate to turn to different types of assistive equipment, but they can actually help keep you mobile. Railings, ramps and grab bars can make it easier and safer for older adults to maintain their mobility.
Talk to your doctor about whether using a cane, walker or wheelchair might help keep you independent. You may learn it could mean the difference between seeing friends and attending activities instead of staying at home.
One of the keys to living a quality life is being able to remain independent. Losing mobility can be a challenge but moving into an assisted living community can bring the type of added support that may be more difficult to find at home.
Assisted living communities are designed to be accessible and accommodate several options for mobility assistance. Unlike many homes in the U.S. today, these communities are built with zero step entrances, wide halls and doorways and accessible bathrooms and kitchens.
Of course, you’ll also find a helping hand with the tasks of daily life but also a boost to your independence. Loss of mobility can be frustrating as it may cause you to rely on your family more than you might like. The well-trained staff at an assisted living community will work with you to keep you moving.
A consequence of mobility loss often results in a sedentary lifestyle, which can greatly impact your parents’ health. If they are struggling with mobility, assisted living may be the right answer to support their independence and lend a hand with daily tasks.
Not only will they be encouraged to live a meaningful and active life, they’ll enjoy the benefits of a private residence, healthy and delicious meals, opportunities to meet and make new friends, have the freedom of a maintenance-free lifestyle and the advantage of scheduled transportation.
At Ingleside at King Farm Assisted Living, we believe in a whole-person approach and our well-being philosophy ensures everyone is treated with the respect that allows independence and choice. All of our staff members are trained to compassionately engage with our residents, assisting them when needed and supporting them always to age well.
If your family is considering assisted living, we invite you to download our free resource, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.
Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.