Benjamin Franklin certainly had it right: An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to noticing and addressing elderly mobility issues, prevention is a must. Falls in older adults result in 3 million emergency room visits, 300,000 hip fractures, and 32,000 deaths each year, according to the CDC.
Preempt a tragedy by keeping an eye out for these warning signs of increasing elderly mobility issues in seniors:
- Struggling to sit or stand. Notice if the older adult finds it hard to either stand up from a seated position or to sit back down. Do they need something to hold onto for support?
- Experiencing dizziness. Dizziness and problems with balance can develop from a variety of factors that ultimately cause problems with mobility. It is important to discover why these issues are taking place and address them right away.
- Steering clear of stairs. A senior loved one who appears to be getting around just fine but is avoiding going up or down stairs may be fearful of falling as a result of mobility changes.
- Skipping physical activity. Another red flag is an older adult who previously engaged in some degree of exercise but now is choosing a much more inactive lifestyle. Exhaustion or weakness may cause issues with mobility.
One simple and effective option to evaluate mobility and fall risk in older adults is the TUG (Timed Up and Go) test. The test should be carried out on a consistent basis. Here is all it will require:
- Place a sturdy chair up against the wall.
- Mark a distance of 10’ from the wall.
- Have the individual sit in the chair.
- When you tell them to go, start a timer, and have the person stand, walk to the ten foot mark, turn around, come back and sit down again.
Be sure to stand close by while the older adult performs the test to provide support if necessary. Track the results during a period of time and share with the person’s doctor for guidance. Find more information on the test along with a downloadable one-page assessment sheet here.
If you pick up on some of these signs of elderly mobility issues, it’s time to have a frank conversation with the senior. Let the person know you are concerned, and schedule an appointment for a check-up with the doctor. The utilization of some simple mobility aids might make a world of improvement in maintaining safety and independence.
Connect with Help at Home Senior Care at (775) 507-3111 for additional fall prevention strategies for older adults and to learn about the many ways we can help improve quality of life for a senior you love. We proudly offer our customized in-home care in Reno and nearby communities.