According to a 2014 Census report, about 40 percent of elderly men and women in the U.S. had one or more disabilities. Around 6 out of 10 of those cases involved seniors who find it hard to walk around or climb up and down the stairs.
When mobility is a challenge, seniors are more likely to avoid being in situations where they struggle. For a senior who cannot easily walk, trips to a store may be avoided. Exercise is often ignored if mobility is a problem. Other things that get skipped are trips to a doctor and dentist, showers and baths, and laundry if the washer and dryer are on a lower level. Some people with mobility issues stop leaving the house.
Is your parent still mobile? Do your parents struggle on the stairs? Do they still drive? If you don’t know these answers, you should.
If you are certain that mobility is declining, take steps now.
Make the Home More Accessible
If mobility issues are present, it’s important to make the house safe. Sturdy rails on both sides of all stairs are important. The bathroom needs grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower. A grab bar behind and to the side of the toilet is also recommended.
In a long narrow hallway, a rail can be helpful. A rail on a bed to help with support while standing up is also ideal.
Remove Loose Rugs and Fix Flooring
Loose rugs are a hazard. Remove them. If the carpeting is older, make sure it doesn’t have seams that are coming apart or loose areas. Broken or uneven tiles need to be fixed. If the wood flooring is uneven, that also needs to be addressed.
Invest in Mobility Equipment
As mobility decreases, make sure your parent has a supportive aid like a cane or walker. If a walker is needed, spend time with your parent to ensure it’s being used regularly and correctly.
Talk to a Doctor
If there is a medical reason for the lack of mobility, your parent may be able to improve the situation and become more mobile. If it’s joint pain, it could be arthritis. NSAID medications can help ease pain and inflammation. Dietary changes may also help.
When mobility is due to weakening bones or muscles, therapists can help. If osteoporosis is diagnosed, there are medications that can help improve bone strength.
Hire Caregivers to Help With Transportation
If your parent’s mobility keeps them housebound, hire caregivers to help. With someone to help your mom or dad get in and out of a car and be there on shopping trips, they can avoid being housebound. Caregivers can also help with chores around the home. Call today to find out more about home care services.