20.3.2017 | 12:27
Mobility is an important issue for older people. It is well known that retaining your independence is an important part of staying healthy. Often, older people become ill after suffering something like a fractured hip and then never recover to the stage that they can get their mobility back. Because of this, they lose out on other parts of life – they find cooking hard, they find it hard to stay healthy, and they become depressed because they stop talking to their friends and socializing as much.
Staying mobile is an imperative to a long, healthy and happy life. That mobility can be protected through regular load bearing exercise that improves muscle tone and retains bone density, and through balance training. Things like yoga and pilates are hugely helpful for older adults – especially ones that have been sedentary for a long time or who are currently sick.
But what about when mobility does start to go? An adult with injured knees or a bad hip might not be able to get around as well – and at that stage, they’re going to need some way to stay independent. Things like mobility scooters, stairlifts, and even walking frames can be a huge lifeline for those adults.
Folding mobility scooters, for example, make it possible for an adult that can walk shorter distances, and maybe still drive, to get around and go shopping, run their errands and visit their kids. It makes it possible for elderly people to pick up their medication, attend events, and enjoy a broad feeling of well-being.
A lot of medical interventions focus on treating things like blood pressure, blood sugar levels or infections, but don’t focus on the sustainability of the person’s health. This is counter-productive because it can put people in a position where they are just likely to become less and less mobile and more and iller. Someone who is bedridden is at the risk of sores that could become infected, or of blood clots. Someone who is housebound is more at risk of depression and is less likely to be able to eat well and take good care of themselves.
Assisted living facilities provide a lot for the elderly and help them to stay healthy and fit. Mobility programs for the elderly that focus on joyful movement and light exercise – things that aren’t too intensive and that don’t carry injury risk – offer a good way of improving the long-term prognosis for those with existing conditions.
If you know someone who is elderly and whose mobility is failing, talk to them about getting moving in healthy ways, and support them in any way that you can. Whether that is providing them with mobility aids in the short term (or even long term if necessary) or offering them support to exercise so that they can recover to the stage of walking unaided, it can all help them and give them their lives back.