As we age we find our bodies begin to fail. Our muscles become less efficient and weaker, which in turn can make keeping active harder. Old injuries may return to haunt our movements and poor health can make daily living a chore.Causes of mobility issues
There are many reasons why you may find it hard to get around. In addition to the obvious difficulties caused by a past injury or accident some common causes of reduced mobility are:
- Rheumatism and arthritis- Swollen, sometimes stiff and inflamed, joints can make daily tasks such as opening jars, lifting jugs, eating and washing difficult and slow.
- Stroke– can cause disability, weakness in limbs and problems with balance
- Diabetes– may cause weight gain and can trigger a variety of mobility issues such as Dupuytren’s contracture, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome and diabetic cheiroarthropathy (limited joint mobility).
- Heart disease– may limit your ability to carry out daily tasks without experiencing symptoms
Effects of reduced mobility
Mobility issues can range from needing a stick or walking frame, even in the home to requiring full-time support and using a wheelchair. Many people are able to remain living in their own homes provided that the right in home care is provided. The house itself may also require modification.
- Stairs– can become impossible, even with assistance. Options include moving your bedroom downstairs or fitting a stairlift.
- Bathing– getting in and out of a bath may become impossible without the use of a hoist. An alternative could be to take showers using a shower stool.
- Cooking– you may find swollen joints or muscle weakness make chopping, stirring and lifting pans harder. If you do not have a home help to cook for you an alternative is to subscribe to a “meals on wheels” food delivery service or for family and friends to provide you with meals you can heat up in the microwave.
- Moving around– ensure that clutter is cleared away to facilitate walking with a stick or frame. Trip hazards such as rugs and mats should be removed unless they can be firmly fastened down. If you cannot carry a tray from one room to another a small trolley may be useful.
Falls are one of the biggest reasons that older people are admitted to hospital and can rob the elderly person of whatever mobility they had. People with reduced mobility are more likely to fall as they lack the mobility necessary to balance and react to small slips. A full-time carer can reduce the chance of falls by watching out for risk factors and removing them. People doing live in care jobs can also assist with activities where falls are more likely such as bathing, toileting and moving around outside.
A home help may be the answer to ensure that you can continue to live in your own home, even if you have difficulty in moving around. This could mean the difference between remaining in your own familiar surroundings and having to cope with somewhere new entirely.