When you or a loved one starts struggling with mobility issues, it can seem like a loss of independence. Your body feels different and no longer supports you. Unfortunately, this can lead to isolation as you find socialising, exercising, and moving around the home challenging.
Our mobility issues guide will help identify if you, or someone elderly, find movement challenging. We’ll also cover the best ways to support movement restrictions and how to reduce mobility problems.
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- What Causes Mobility Issues in the Elderly?
- Signs of Mobility Issues in the Elderly
- How to Assist the Elderly With Mobility Issues
- Ways to Prevent Mobility Issues
What Causes Mobility Issues in the Elderly?
There are many different reasons people struggle with mobility as they age. Below, we have listed a few reasons that may cause movement restrictions:
- Arthritis – Arthritis is characterised by swelling and stiffness in the joints. It can be incredibly painful and prevents someone’s ability to move with ease.
- Dementia – The neurological disease dementia is common in the elderly, leading to forgetfulness and confusion. It can also psychically affect the person’s capability to move around.
- Loss of cartilage – As you age, the cartilage and tendons that help with joint movement and strength wear away. You may become weak and find it difficult to manoeuvre your body. For example, standing up from a chair or going up the stairs.
- Injuries – A severe or repetitive injury can cause restriction in movement. This can be due to it creating pain when you move. Alternatively, it could be weakened muscles from lack of movement while the injury is healing.
Signs of Mobility Issues in the Elderly
There are signs and symptoms to look out for if you or a loved one struggles to move independently.
Episodic Mobility Issues
Episodic mobility means episodes of movement issues. A person may be capable most of the time, but occasionally, they find daily movements challenging. For instance, they need assistance getting up off the sofa, or they struggle to walk independently.
Early Signs of Arthritis
Arthritis is swelling and inflammation in the joints, such as the knuckles, elbows and knees. The affected areas can be red, and the person will have limited movement and joint pain.
Loss of Mobility in Legs in Elderly
It’s not unusual for an older person to have full upper-body movement but suffer from a lack of leg function. This is identified by needing an aid to walk, avoiding the stairs and finding sitting and standing difficult.
When a person is unstable or has mobility issues, it can cause dizziness. They could easily lose balance and can become prone to falling. So, if someone expresses feeling woozy, especially when moving, it could be an early sign of movement issues.
Avoiding the Stairs
If an older person avoids using their stairs at home, they may have trouble moving. They may also prefer taking ramps when out and about or steer clear of places with steps.
Staying in Their House
Elderly people naturally slow down and won’t go out as much. However, if they rarely or never leave, it may be because movement is strenuous. This can cause loneliness and isolation, so it’s essential to address the issue as soon as possible.
Finding it Hard to Sit Down and Stand Up
If an elderly person needs several attempts to sit down or stand down, or if it looks painful, they may require mobility support.
How to Assist the Elderly With Mobility Issues
If an older adult in your life needs assistance with their mobility, there are many ways you can help. Check out our top tips below:
The Best Method to Hold an Elderly Person Whilst Moving
If you are helping an elderly person move, you must protect yourself and them. Here are a few ways to support both of you when moving:
- Keep your weight close together – Someone with mobility issues will find it harder to move if you are far away. Too much distance is also strenuous for you, so stay close by.
- Maintain a firm grip – An elderly person may struggle with dizziness or imbalance, causing them to wobble and trip. Ensure you hold them firmly to pre-empt any unexpected slips.
- Bend your knees and have a straight back – Reduce the risk of injuring yourself when supporting an elderly person. Keep a straight back and a slight bend in the knees, and take breaks as often as you need.
How to Best Assist The Elderly in the Bathroom
Bathrooms are a treacherous place for older people with mobility issues. They are often wet and slippery with a hard surface. This makes the danger of falling higher, but you can’t avoid a bathroom. So, here are the best methods to help an older person navigate the bathroom.
- Get a walk-in shower or bath – Walk-in showers or walk-in baths don’t have a step, ideal for someone who has trouble lifting their legs.
- Install grab rails – Grab rails are supportive bars you can place around the bathroom for a person to hold onto. They’re a great option to help the elderly when getting up and down or if they need stability when moving.
- Use shower chairs and stools – Having somewhere to sit in the shower is perfect if you need a place to rest or have balance and mobility problems.
How to Best Assist The Elderly Around Their House
Daily tasks can become cumbersome and even painful if movement is challenging. But, there are some great options for helping the elderly around the home.
- Set up a stair lift – Climbing up and down the stairs is tough on the joints and increases the chance of falling. Stair lifts allow you to sit comfortably, creating independence without risk.
- Install grab rails throughout the house – Grab rails aren’t just for the bathroom. You can place them anywhere around the house where there may be a step. They’re also ideal to place near seating to help an older person get up and down with ease.
- Make everything within reach – Organise the home so all essentials are within reach. That includes moving items that require bending down or crouching. You should also ensure nothing is too high up or needs excess stretching or a stool.
Ways to Prevent Mobility Issues
It’s perfectly natural to have reduced mobility when you age. However, there are several things you or a loved one can do to slow down the process.
- Exercise – When you don’t exercise, the muscles around joints weaken and can waste away, but regular movement keeps muscles strong. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity, but something light—for example, gentle yoga or walking.
- Balance classes – There are classes explicitly geared towards the elderly who struggle with mobility. Muscle weakness increases fall risk, which can be dangerous. However, balance classes target areas of the body to enhance strength, balance and mobility.
- Maintain a healthy weight – It’s easy to put on weight when sitting down a lot. However, this causes extra strain on your joints, making it more painful to move around. Ensure everyone eats a healthy and nutritious diet to prevent added weight.
Ease Mobility Issues With Mobility Plus
You and your loved ones don’t have to suffer in silence with mobility issues. We specialise in bathroom installations and provide guidance to choose items that create stability and safety for the elderly. Move with ease with Mobility Plus.