Numerous studies have found that seniors who are more active tend to be happier, healthier and even live longer lives. But primarily due to the aging process itself, many elderly people have health conditions that limit their mobility and keep them from participating in activities like they should. For seniors who live alone, that resulting inactivity can eventually threaten their freedom and independence. If you’re currently caring for an aging in place senior with limited mobility, here are several ways to help them enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle.
These Interfere with Mobility
It’s not uncommon for those aged 65-and-over to start losing some of their mobility because of one or more of these health conditions:
- Loss of joint flexibility
- Poor balance and coordination
- Bone loss due to aging or osteoporosis
- Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases
- Persistent neck and back pain caused by arthritis or an injury
- Chronic fatigue
If your loved one is currently faced with one or more of these mobility challenges, as their condition worsens it can make even the simplest of daily living activities, like bathing, dressing or driving, to become nearly impossible to perform. Not only does that affect them physically, it typically lead to social isolation and depression.
Mobility Improving Activities
First, have your loved one’s physical and mental health status evaluated by a doctor. If it’s safe for them to participate in physical activities based on the examination, here are some of the better ones for them to try:
Exercise benefits seniors in so many ways, like improving balance and coordination, boosting self-esteem, strengthening bones and muscles, and promoting a better night’s sleep. But it’s not a good idea for someone with limited mobility to place more stress on tender bones and joints. On the other hand, these low-impact forms of exercise are a safe and reliable way to keep your loved one more active and mobile:
- Chair aerobics
- Yoga and Tai Chi
- Swimming and water aerobics
- WII and other interactive games (Great for homebound seniors!)
When your senior’s flexibility isn’t the best, routinely doing daily stretching exercises that target the hips, chest, legs, lower back and shoulders should help them regain at least some of their range of motion. Additional benefits of a daily stretching program include:
- Improved balance and coordination
- Increased blood circulation throughout the body
- Higher self-esteem and sense of wellbeing
- Relief for muscle tension and soreness
Taking care of fruits, vegetables and flowers requires certain body movements, like lifting, reaching and squatting, that help keep an aging body stronger and more limber. And, eating the fruits and veggies afterwards will help provide your loved one’s body with the essential, energy producing vitamins and nutrients it needs!
Certain lifestyle choices can fuel a sedentary lifestyle, like smoking, eating junk food and being overweight. If these issues are keeping your loved one from staying active, encourage them to replace those unhealthy habits with positive ones.
While asleep, our bodies release biochemicals that facilitate tissue repair in areas like inflamed joint tissues. If your loved one isn’t getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every day, find them a more comfortable mattress, get them to exercise, and make their bedroom as dark as possible when bedtime rolls around.
Painful conditions like arthritis can sometimes be treated with over the counter (OTC) medications starting with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Speak to your loved one’s doctor about their mobility improving options, including new prescription meds that help prevent further bone loss from osteoporosis.
We Love Helping Seniors Stay Active and More Mobile!
Helping an aging in place senior with activities of daily living can be hard when you have your own household to manage or live far away. When you need a hand, contact Family Services of Central Massachusetts (FSCM). At FSCM, we are a fully licensed home care agency with compassionate, professional caregivers who provide support for seniors living at home so that they can keep aging comfortably and independently in place right where they want to be.
While serving in the home as an extended family that’s here to help yours, our experienced home care aides can perform duties like personal care, grocery shopping, meals, laundry, light housekeeping, prescription pickups and escorted transportation. To hear more now from the clients and families that Family Services of Central Massachusetts proudly serves, please visit us at: www.fscm.org!