Lack of mobility is a common disability for seniors


How common is limited mobility with seniors?

Having mobility for each of us as human beings is extremely important in general. Everything from being able to walk across the room, take care of our own hygiene, tend to our basic needs, even going outside and walking the dog. Imagine if you are a senior, and your mobility is limited or worse yet, gone. Being unable to drive and go to the store for groceries and necessities is one thing, challenging at best to overcome the mental block that invades your space after years of having complete control and freedom to do as you need and please. Now compound this lack of routine movement to becoming confined to your chair or bed. The emotional toll on the mind and heart is staggering at best, and often comes without warning or permission. Sadly, this is a very common occurance with our seniors, and when they discover their mobility is limited, or gone completely, their independence is no more and they are required to accept assistance from their family, and often times, strangers. Below are a few common factors that lead to a loss of mobility:

  • older age
  • low physical activity
  • obesity
  • impaired strength and balance
  • chronic diseases
  • depression
  • memory loss
  • limited thinking skills
  • being female
  • recent hospitalization
  • drinking alcohol
  • smoking
  • feelings of helplessness 

How can we expect this affect their daily routine?

For their basic needs you will see them either gradually, or immediately depending upon their specific circumstances, require assistance:

  • getting up out of bed or a chair
  • taking a shower
  • walking to the kitchen, living room, or bedroom
  • getting into bed
  • cooking any kind of food
  • making coffee
  • laundry
  • cleaning house
  • getting to appointments
  • answering the phone or the door

There will be many other ways that a senior with limited mobility will require assistance, and this will largly depend upon their specific needs and circumstances. It will be very important to provide consistant attention to their cooking and appointments, as these will have a profound effect on their ability to navigate communication about their health and any goals that have been set for them to achieve by their Doctors. 

Will this limit their lives any other way?

Loss of mobility has very profound social, psychological, and physical consequences for our senior community. Below is a starting point to begin with understanding the dynamics this will affect them, and be aware that this is by no means intended to include all scenarios as there will most definitely be more.

  • going out to eat
  • grocery shopping
  • spending time out with friends
  • going to the movies
  • attending religous services
  • visiting family and friends
  • attending appointments
  • going on vacations
  • attending family reunions or parties 
  • working

When one looses ability to connect, through their own freedom of choice, they usually become reclusive and redefine their lifestyle to being stationary, isolated, and alone. When loneliness sets in, and it will, their mobility becomes even more limited, causing depression to set in. The lasting consequences of this compounded situation is something that needs immediate attention and specific action from loved ones to the senior who is facing such a life altering challenge.

Is there any way to prevent, or delay, this process?

While you may not have control over your loved one's physical mobility, you definitely have the power to influence their ablitly to find a sence of control, confidence, and freedom within a new daily routine. Now that you know their mobility is limited, here a few ideas to help you get started in assiting them to regain some of their independence back into their routine:

  • be present, and available, as much as you can to assist your senior
  • check their ability to perform daily tasks and how long it takes for them to complete those tasks
  • assist them in going to their Doctor and have them tested for their mobility in the "Get Up and Go Test"
  • have them check in the Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment with you or a friend

 

The cascading of negative effects that comes with limited mobility, or immobility, can often be prevented or limited if one has attentive and intentional loved ones. This will help in protecting our seniors from developing infections, sores, and becoming lost in the shuffle of every day life that they so desperately want to remain an important part of. 

(Tags - daily life )

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