As your parents and other loved one's age, you may notice that their mobility is beginning to decline. This is common and is simply one of the issues with aging, but it can be extremely distressful for both you and your elderly loved one. Even small, minor difficulties for your elderly loved ones can have a significant impact on their life. For instance, a decline in mobility may prevent them from getting out visiting friends, go shopping, or go to medical appointments; a decrease in mobility can have psychological and social effects on their well-being and may even lead to depression. In some situations, problems with mobility may also be an indication of or lead to other serious health problems. So, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs that indicate a developing or potential problem with mobility.
If your elderly loved one frequently suggests taking the elevator instead of the stairs, even when there are only a few steps to climb, it may be because they are worried about stumbling or falling down the stairs. Another common sign that there may be concerns about mobility is if they are spending more time downstairs than upstairs in their home. In extreme situations, they may even begin to sleep downstairs on the sofa instead of climbing the stairs to go to an upstairs bedroom. If they don’t appear to be avoiding the stairs out of fear of falling, there may physical challenges that are holding them back. For instance, arthritis may be preventing their knees from bending as they used to, which makes it difficult to navigate the movement of going upstairs.
Problems Standing and Sitting
Have you noticed your elderly loved one struggle to stand up from a chair or the couch? Do they have difficulties lowering themselves to sit or to get in bed? Struggling with standing and sitting is a serious indication of potential mobility problems. Sitting and standing is an important aspect of daily life, it’s needed when sitting down to a meal, getting in and out of bed, and using the restroom, and various other activities. Mobility issues can lead to falling, which can be detrimental for seniors. One quick way to determine if their mobility is starting to decline is to pay close attention to their actions when sitting or standing, for instance, do they hold on to furniture or another person for support, and are their movements slow and unsteady.
Stumbling and Falling
Frequently tripping or stumbling when there isn’t anything in the pathway to cause tripping is an indication of balance problems, which may also be a sign of mobility problems. If you are noticing small bruises or scratches on your elderly loved one's knees, shins, hands, or elbows, it's potentially a sign of them falling when walking. It’s common to fall after tripping over something, but it’s also a sign that they may be struggling to fully lift their feet while walking. Falls are the number one reason for hospitalizations of the elderly and falls can lead to life-threatening complications, so if you notice your loved one falling for no reason, you should ask their doctor to evaluate their mobility.
Declining mobility is a common side-effect of aging, but it may also be a sign of something more serious. For instance, frequent dizziness or difficulties with balance may be caused by a number of different things, including low blood pressure, medication side effects, or an inner ear infection. Impaired vision, slower reaction times, muscle weakness, and stiff joints can also affect balance and make standing and walking difficult. Regardless of how minor it may seem, it’s important to address mobility issues as soon as you become aware of the warning signs.
If your elderly loved one needs assistance with everyday living actives due to loss of mobility, contact 1st Meridian Care Services.