Staying home to stay healthy is a double-edged sword for seniors. While social distancing decreases the risk of infection, it increases the isolation that can impact a senior’s mental and physical health. Bereft of contact with family and friends, seniors can become dispirited and even depressed.
Physical health relates directly to mental health. Losing the ability to rise from a chair or get up a flight of stairs can create a downward spiral in which seniors lose the motivation to try to move much at all. Before they reach that point, there are ways seniors can improve their mobility at home.
Check on Diet
Extra pounds make it difficult to move around. Caregivers should ensure that seniors receive deliveries of nutritious, prepared meals that are simple to heat in the oven or microwave. Eggs, whole grains, and wholesome, low-sugar fruits like berries should be available, clean, and ready to eat.
Connect Online To Encourage Activity
A combination of resistance, balance, stretching, and cardio exercises can help keep seniors feeling spry. Exercise also boosts mood. Use technology to encourage seniors isolated at home to keep moving. Ensure they have access to the internet and a device in the home that enables them to maintain social contact with friends and family.
Technology can also connect seniors with caregivers and specialized trainers who can provide real-time coaching. A video chat service like Zoom can make exercise a team activity. Working with another person, live over the internet, provides social contact and adds an element of safety: the session leader can see if the person exercising at home becomes too fatigued or is in danger of falling.
Every senior has unique mobility issues. Make sure the person exercising at home has consulted their doctor about appropriate exercise before beginning any program with them.
Supply an Appropriate Mobility Aid
Unaddressed mobility issues tend to get worse. Minor troubles rising from a chair or difficulty getting up a flight of stairs can worsen. Mobility aids like lifts, scooters, and wheelchairs may require expensive alterations to the home.
A better solution is to address mobility issues as soon as they arise. Walking canes come in many styles and materials, from traditional wood to the new carbon fiber cane. Quad-canes have a four-sided base for extra stability, and offset canes distribute weight more evenly along the shaft. Canes designed to help with rising from a chair have two handles along a curved shaft with a quad base.
Careful measurements are the key to success in using a cane. Use our helpful cane sizing guide to determining the proper length to order.
Seniors with balance issues, weakness on one side, or who are recovering from an injury or surgery may need a cane to help them move safely around their home before they become so frail that they would need a wheelchair. Helping seniors improve mobility at home is necessary, important, and possible, even if help must come remotely via the internet.