It is a new phase of life when you witness the aging of your loved ones. It can be your parents, your favorite aunt who taught you how to paint, or your beloved uncle who used to play catch with you. Realizing your dearest ones are aging and are not as flexible as before is a painful experience.
It has to be accepted that it is a natural, inevitable part of life. You are bound to feel afraid or insecure when you leave your elderly ones at home alone, especially when they develop mobility issues.
That being said, limited mobility does not necessarily have to limit their independence. They can still do fun activities and take on tasks based on their current capabilities. This article will discuss various tips to consider when taking care of an elderly loved one with mobility issues.
Invest in a Mobility Device
The restricted mobility of your family member does not have to obstruct their daily activities. Getting your loved one a mobility device like a walker, cane, wheelchair, or an electric scooter for seniors will ease their movement significantly.
If your beloved senior still can walk but needs additional support, a walker or cane will be ideal for them. These accessories relieve some pressure from the hips, knees, and ankles. The devices also help them keep their balance and make it easier for them to walk.
Elderly individuals who have restricted mobility and decreased strength in their lower body need wheelchairs and scooters to move independently. Electric wheelchairs are only recommended for those who also have weak upper body strength. Such electric versions do not require much core strength.
Wheelchairs are also very useful during emergencies and long trips. If you are in a pinch, you can look for alternatives like finding a second-hand one. Before purchasing, you should know how much a used wheelchair costs. There are many budget-friendly wheelchairs available these days for people with mobility issues on limited incomes so that you can readily obtain this necessary equipment, which would otherwise cost thousands of dollars.
Support Physical Activity
Fun physical activities or general physical exercise do not necessarily require full mobility. However, staying active is necessary to prevent severe health conditions and maintain good mental health.
Look for activities that increase their mobility and boost their balance. Choose activities that strengthen the muscles and bones. Such exercises should relieve stiffness and pain. Always stop or pause the exercise when they are experiencing pain.
Keep away from any workouts that affect the injured body part. The activity should be light and simple. Encourage stretching before and after the exercise. Do not forget to have them cool down after a workout.
Due to agility restrictions, it is wise to customize the fun activities your senior loves. For example, she might not have to give up her favorite sport, badminton. She can leisurely play table tennis as an alternative since it does not require standing up and making strenuous moves.
Your dear senior can be kept busy and maintain great mental well-being by modifying their favorite activities. By being able to continue their preferred sport, your elderly loved one will be less bored, idle, and stressed.
Keep Their Homes Clean
Keeping the house clean and clutter-free is crucial, especially for your dear elder who uses mobility devices like walkers and wheelchairs. For their convenience, the pathways should be clear and free of electrical cords, heavy appliances, and furniture.
Your loved one will be safe and you do not have to worry about them tripping over an object they have not seen. Besides mobility, the eyesight also gets compromised, making their day-to-day activities a bit more difficult.
Their independence is preserved when they can move easily without any worry. If you have the financial resources, you can hire a reputed caregiver who is also trustworthy and specializes in catering to the needs of the elderly.
Furthermore, their mental health will be more under control and in a good state when they live in an organized home.
Find Movement Barriers Around the Home
Most seniors prefer to age at home as it is a familiar environment they are comfortable in. To maximize their overall agility and independence, it is wise to address and modify various aspects of the home that cause issues with their movement.
The priority should be looking for areas in the house that have high risks of them falling or tripping over. These trouble areas are usually the bathrooms, kitchens, and any rooms that have hard flooring.
Set non-slip mats in these areas, especially near the sinks or any regions near a water source. It is best to steer clear of any flimsy rugs as they can obstruct their mobility and are potentially hazardous.
The second priority is to install handrails and other forms of home improvement that can be easily held by the elderly for stability. Such installments are necessary next to the toilet and shower. The handrails or grab bars should be sturdy and durable.
Other home improvements include installments of ramps, lowering counters and cabinets, and widening the doors. Such modifications will also help them lead a comfortable lifestyle and strengthen their physical health.
Seek Medical Assistance
Mobility issues are often aggravated by underlying medical conditions. Consult with the doctor beforehand for any ongoing treatments and preventive measures. Immediately take your beloved elder to the doctor when you see their mobility worsening.
Conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, Parkinson’s, and fibromyalgia affect mobility to a large extent. Diabetes also gives rise to mobility issues in some cases. Excessive weight also contributes to restricted movement as it exerts more pressure on the joints and bones.
It is vital to ensure that your elder is receiving the proper treatment for controlling their medical conditions. Regular medications and physical therapy make it easier for them to go on about their lives independently. If the doctor advises getting surgery, it is wise to act upon it instantly and get them admitted.
Maintaining a healthy diet prevents the worsening of restricted mobility. It also helps to keep medical conditions like cardiovascular issues, obesity, and arthritis under control. They should be given food that is high in fiber, proteins, and other essential nutrients.
For instance, they should have lean meat like chicken that is grilled or boiled. The proteins and vitamins in the chicken will strengthen the bones and immunity. The use of less oil in the preparation of the grilled chicken lowers the fat content and makes it safe for consumption, especially for individuals that have cardiovascular diseases and excessive weight.
Fried foods should be kept to a minimum or not given at all as it can cause heartburn and has little to no nutrient value. It also increases the risk of heart attacks and other serious health issues.
The effects of arthritis can be alleviated with a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Such essential nutrients can be obtained from leafy greens and grilled fish.
Consult with your senior’s primary physician for dietary recommendations and what foods to avoid. Providing your loved ones with healthy food will help them stay strong and limit any debilitating effects of aging.
Encouragement of Personal Interests
Seniors should be able to enjoy their free time, and limited mobility does not necessarily have to hinder them. There is a wide range of activities that do not require any agility such as playing board games, drawing, and reading a book.
When your dear elder encounters declining mobility, the likelihood of developing mental disorders like depression is very high. To prevent the decrease of mental health, it is vital to keep them busy and distracted with activity. Look for an emotional outlet or an activity in which your loved one can seek solace.
Some seniors find comfort in knitting while others like meditating. It is wise to ensure that your dear senior goes outside regularly. Being cooped up inside for days can harm their general health, hence they must go out of the house once in a while.
Your aging loved ones may need help in getting in and out of the bed, bathtub, chairs, and cars. It is wise for you to learn how to lift them safely with the proper techniques.
When transferring your elderly loved one, ensure your head is aligned with your spine, bend at your knees, and refrain from bending at your waist. Avoid twisting your body while transferring the elderly. The last thing you need is to hurt your back and develop a serious condition.
The senior can help by pushing her or himself into the proper position. Let him or her put their arms around your neck for added safety. If you need to lift them daily, then it is recommended to enroll yourself in a safety class that teaches lifting and transferring with the correct form.
Taking care of the elderly with compromised mobility is a challenging task but can be made simpler by taking certain measures and practices. Seniors need a sense of independence and contentment in this phase of life. We hope this article helped you get an idea of how to take proper care of your aging loved one.