Mobility is, essentially, someone’s ability to move around. In elderly people, mobility can be compromised by conditions such as neurological diseases, muscle weakness, cataracts, confusion or stroke. The person may find it difficult to get in and out of a chair or get themselves upright.
Immobility may hinder the activities of daily living, leading to frustration and dependence on others. However, there are ways to improve mobility and maintain independent living.
Since an immobile life is sedentary, it can lead to unwanted obesity and heart disease. Keeping active with a mobility care plan will aid physical health and wellbeing.
A fitness plan will help you to move about more easily and participate in meaningful activity. Try the tips below.
Traditional exercise may not be suitable for the elderly. However, climbing the stairs, dressing themselves or helping to cook a meal may all be good ways to encourage gentle movement. The person will stretch their muscles and use their lungs and feel a sense of achievement.
Swimming can be an important part of your activity plan. Water supports us and can make aches and pains feel better. The water creates friction so we work our muscles harder, and all parts of the body are utilised.
Check with your GP for access to therapy pools with hoists, lifts and dedicated staff.
For those with weak legs or poor coordination, try some light exercise that targets coordination and balance. Tai Chi or gentle dancing can enhance your mood and brain function. You can also try chair-based yoga routines.
Some exercise equipment can help boost strength and stamina. For example, use resistance bands or wrist weights for chair-based arm movements. A hula hoop may be fun and will encourage hip flexing. An inflatable ball can also be a good accessory.
Eating well is conducive to good movement. Without a nutritious diet, you will be fatigued and unable to exercise. Remember also to maintain hydration. Aim to monitor the amount of water you drink to encourage health.
Simple exercises include the upper body clam shell, semi-sits, the seated abdominal press, side bends and the low-back rotation stretch.
A live-in carer from an agency such as Guardian Carers can support your mobility by tailoring activities to your specific requirements.