As people get older, so do their bones and muscles. Thus, they have trouble moving around. They fall often, walk slower, and are not steady on their feet. This may be due to muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, disease, or neurological issues. An elderly person who has developed mobility issues should let a physician know as soon as possible. This is because falling may cause fractures. Broken or cracked bones in the elderly heal a lot slower than normal and sometimes not at all.
Before the Gadgets
In some cases, mobility problems are caused by medication. If this is not the case, there are steps to be taken to ensure they have an easier time moving around.
One should encourage their grandmother to engage in more activities. Staying on the move keeps the bones and muscles strong. This may sound easy enough but seniors can be stubborn and may prefer to continue the same way they have been for years. This reluctance to get off the couch may stem in the fear of falling and breaking something or being unable to get up. This is exactly the thing that one should address. One cannot be present at all times to help them get back up if they fall. In this case, mobility aids are necessary. One can go a step further and get rid of all possible fall hazards in the home.
An important thing to remember is not to crowd them. The elderly are synonymous with wanting to do things themselves. When they are having trouble getting out of the tub, they would rather slip and crack their skulls than ask. It is important to let them help themselves when possible. This keeps them from feeling like invalids. It also keeps the sourness out of the relationship.
Another way to get grandpa to take a lap around the block is by organizing a play date of sorts. One can have a group of friends to walk together. He can also be enrolled into social activities with other senior citizens in the community. The daily walk to and from home to the social hall should be sufficient exercise.
Optimum weight and proper diet are matters of dire importance. Too much weight will be hard to carry around in addition to creaking bones and complaining muscles. Unbalanced meals will keep them feeling tired, weak and unmotivated to get out of bed leave alone take a walk.
Essential to Senior Mobility
There are some basic and essential products one needs to help their elderly loved one move easily.
1. Canes and Walking Sticks
Before purchasing a walking stick, appropriate measurements have to be taken. The height and weight of the person must be put into consideration. One must be able to stand upright with the elbow only slightly bent. A cane with the correct measurement might be unavailable. In this case, one should take a longer one and not shorter.
There are a few things one needs to know before committing to purchasing a specific brand of cane or walking stick.
A derby handle is t-shaped with a gel or silicone grip. This is quite comfortable and worth considering. On the other hand, a crook handle is convenient especially when one needs to use both hands. They can hang the stick on their arm or shopping cart. The Fischer handle is configured to either right or left palm. It is crafted for people with painful fingers. The design spread pressure across the palm.
A swan neck shaft transfers weight to the base. There are even tripod and tetra-pod shafts available. However, using this can be quite inconvenient and risky especially when using the stairs. Due caution must be observed. A folding cane is one whose shaft is divided into sections. While this is nice, it is only advisable for occasional use. Adjustable height can also be considered. These types come in handy when the cane is a gift and one is unsure of their height. This is also useful for ladies who wear heels. They can adjust on flat-shoes day.
This is a piece of plastic or gripping material at the bottom of the cane. It keeps the shaft from wearing out and user from sliding on slippery surfaces. Some ferules have pleated bellows. These help cushion the step.
In addition to these, some canes are fastened with a lighting fixture for night walks and nightly bathroom trips. Other come with a wrist strap for when they lose their grip. As an accessory, one can get a cane holder. This puts the cane in place next to a favorite chair or bed. Canes often slip and fall out of reach, this prevents that.
2. Walking Frame
This is a walking aid that stands on four feet. It can be standard, wheeled, or foldable. A standard frame requires ability to lift and move forward. It may wear out the carpet and tire the user. A wheeled one has wheels on the front. The back feet have ferules. They act as brakes of sorts. A folding frame is convenient for travel. One mechanism is the hinged front legs where the front and the back fold inwards and meet in the middle. The other is the slide folding.
Before buying one of these, one should consider two things.
One must have their weight measured and fitted before committing to one frame. If it is too high, they will not be able to grasp it properly. This could lead to fatal falls or severe injury. The weight distribution is also not evenly done. If it is too low, posture problems are imminent.
The size of the user is important. If it is not wide enough, they will have trouble every day and maybe even get stuck in the frame. If it is too wide, that means added weight to the frame. The width of the passages is also important. The hallways and doorways might be too narrow for the frame. An extra two inches should be allowed on each side for easy passage.
Buying a wheelchair is not a project to be taken lightly. This will determine whether one will struggle with back problems or cruise around in comfort. The first two factors apply to purchasing chair lifts. These chairs attach to the stair rails and elevate the person to the top.
These are necessary to determine the size of chair to use. Weight, height, and width must be put into consideration. These figures will inform the appropriate height of backrests and armrests, seat depth and width and stability features.
How Often to Use
If the chair will be used frequently, there is need for comfort. Breathable material should be used to prevent too much sweating. This will also inform whether the chair will be lightweight or not. The chair also needs to be easy to transport. This means that, as many parts as possible need to be detachable like the footrests. Said dismantling needs to be simple and quick, same goes for reassembly.
Does the chair have pouches to carry items that one would regularly put in a backpack? Once the small parts have been disabled, does the chair offer pockets to put them in to avoid misplacement?
A self-propellant chair has a rim attached to the wheel. This is used to steer and maneuver the chair as desired. One needs to have upper arm strength for his. As it is with most seniors, the upper arm strength to pull themselves around was left in the past. In this case, there are handles in the rear for an attendant to push.
Motorized wheelchairs or scooters are also an option. They are more expensive but are operated by finger. These are used mostly by quadriplegics but are also appropriate for fully immobile seniors who still desire a little independence.
4. Swivel Seats and Cushions
Getting an elderly person with hip problem in and out of the car is an arduous task. They have to be carried out slowly and meticulously lest they suffer injury or complain bitterly. Swivel cushions are placed on the car seat and rotate 360°. An elderly person, who drives, so that getting out of the car is less painful, can also use the cushion.
The brand chosen has to offer stability. This means they cannot move out of place during movement. The cushions and seats also have to be comfortable especially for long road trips.
5. Grab Bars
Falls cause a large percentage of elderly deaths annually. They should be prevented by all means possible. A grab bar is a handle placed strategically in a fall risk area. The most common n areas are next to the toilet and in the shower. On and around the bathtub is also a potential area.
The handles can be fixed permanently on the wall. This work should be done by a professional to ensure they are sturdy and capable of holding when needed. An expert will consider all the factors to inform placement, material, and location. There are non-permanent options that use suction cups. These are not very reliable as the cups sometimes malfunction. However, these can be brought on trips to fix in hotel bathrooms and toilets.
It is best if there are two bars. On bar means that they are going to use one arm to haul themselves up or lower down. For a person with deteriorating bone and muscle health, it is advisable to distribute weight between both arms. The material has to be non-slip. It is even better if there are ridges to enhance grasp.
The weight of the home occupants must also be considered. Some grab bars are plastic. If the elderly person is 250 pounds heavy, this might be a problem. The plastic could break easily if grabbed abruptly and forcefully.
These products help seniors experience a sense of independence in the face of their failing bones and limbs. They are not to replace the help of family but only assist. Love and support is still needed even when rejected.