A carer’s guide to mobility problems
Changes that occur with aging, disability or even as the result of an accident can all cause mobility issues. This can include everything from unsteadiness when walking and getting in and out of chairs to stairs and fall risks.
There are many specific reasons why mobility can become a concern, including joint and back pain, neurological conditions and disease. Very often, it doesn’t even need to be a serious problem to affect mobility in a big way.
Perhaps the main concern around mobility, and certainly the most damaging, is falling. Bones can break very easily, especially for elderly people. And healing often takes significantly longer. Broken hips, legs and arms can result in the need for canes, wheelchairs, frames and emergency equipment, such as evac chairs.
The best way to deal with falls is always prevention. Try to avoid situations where the risks are large. It might be necessary to work with an occupational therapist to install rails, guards and other specialist equipment such as walk-in baths. Very often stairs can become a major obstacle and a hot spot for fall risks.
Lack of activity
Another of the major issues around mobility is that it can be a degenerative problem by definition. A lack of mobility makes exercise difficult and can damage confidence. This in turn leads to ongoing and more severe movement issues.
Therefore it may be necessary to create an activity or mobility plan to help regain some movement. Try and work with physiotherapists and mobility specialists to see what can be done to recover some range of movement.
There are many tips and tricks to improve mobility or at least improve safety. Obviously, using sticks, frames and chairs can reduce risk and build confidence, with even small adjustments like changing the type of slippers, removing rugs and other trip hazards, and working on mobility patterns can make a big difference.
Mobility can have a big impact on people’s lives but there are lots of ways carers can help people to reduce the scale of these changes. By assessing risks, improving conditions and building confidence, a lack of mobility should never have to hold anybody back.