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Mobility is vital for senior independence. However, an elderly’s mobility is often challenged by a range of external and internal factors that may affect their ability to move around freely and easily. An ideal and quality elderly life would include maintaining independence and good mobility, as well as having the freedom to participate in hobbies and leisure activities.
But, did you know that 1 out of 3 adults aged 65 and above fall each year? Many people do not acknowledge that older adults develop mobility issues until they get seriously injured in a fall. Falls are amongst the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries like hip fractures and head trauma. Over 95% hip fractures are caused by fall whereas an estimated 53% of adults who suffer a hip fracture will experience another fall within 6 months.
Falling is indeed one of the common issues that comes with age. But as we understand why seniors fall, we could also know the ways to prevent them from falling and subsequently avoid mobility problems.
Why Seniors Fall?
- Slow reflexes. Elderlies tend to find it difficult to move out of a hazard quickly.
- Slipping or tripping due to loss of traction.
- Problem with one’s balance due to muscle loss and reduced strength.
- Dizziness or weakness due to the side effects from medication.
In fact, injuries or diseases are not the only cases leading to difficulty in walking and standing. The natural effects of ageing such as balance issues, joint stiffness and muscle loss may also cause mobility problems. Nevertheless, there are ways to help seniors prevent mobility issues and avoid existing problems from getting worse.
Ways to Help Prevent Mobility Problems
- Stay active
Seniors are strongly advised to carry out regular and simple exercises at home to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet
Keeping a healthy weight reduces the stress on bones and joints. It is also simply easier to move around without carrying any extra weight.
- Test vision and hearing regularly
Seeing poorly or not hearing well can cause serious mobility problems that have the tendency to lead to falls.
- Check the possible influence of medication
Take note of the medicines or remedies that will result in drowsiness or distraction which can lead to falls. Seniors must discuss with professional medical advisors to lower the dose, or change a different medicine if their existing medications are causing unbearable side effects.
- Identify fall hazards at home and eliminate them
It is vital to make sure that rooms and hallways have good lighting and ample space for activity. It is best if the premise is equipped with elderly-friendly safety equipment to ease elderly movements.
- Ask the doctor about walking aids
Talk to a doctor or physical therapist to find out the suitable type of walking aids, if necessary. The professionals will adjust the walking aid to the correct and ideal height, and teach the seniors how to use it.
All in all, seniors most likely prefer to remain independent in their golden years to enjoy the freedom of activities. What we could do is to give them a helping hand by eliminating hazards and advise them on ways to keep their mobility intact. By having mobility, the elderlies can participate in community and social activities freely and openly, making their retirement nothing short of enjoyment.
The information above is meant for educational purposes only. Please seek professional advices from your healthcare providers for detailed explanations.