Causes of Mobility Loss in the Elderly

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Mobility plays a big role in quality of life for everyone, including seniors. Without good mobility, your aging loved one could face difficulty with even basic tasks such as cooking meals and cleaning the home. Watch out for these common causes of mobility loss so your loved one can make lifestyle adjustments to retain his or her abilities.

Long-Term Damage from Injuries

For a younger adult, a sprained ankle or broken leg represents a temporary inconvenience, but seniors may find it more challenging to recover fully from an injury, especially a severe one such as a broken hip. For this reason, injury prevention is one of the best ways to avoid a decrease in mobility. Make sure your loved one has help around the house and someone to provide support during times when he or she is weak or dizzy due to illness. 

If your loved one does experience an injury, the recovery process may be challenging without the support of a trained professional caregiver. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Rhode Island, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Uncontrolled diabetes causes serious damage to the body that affects mobility over time. Nerve damage to the feet may cause seniors to be unable to feel the ground beneath them, or they may experience spasms that limit their balance. If your loved one has diabetes, make sure he or she takes medication as prescribed and follows a healthy diet and exercise plan. Your loved one also needs to report any unusual symptoms, such as numbness, to the doctor so they can be addressed before they cause long-term problems with walking.

Some seniors with diabetes may need help making healthy dietary choices and sticking to the medication schedule necessary to manage their blood sugar levels. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Rhode Island families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Osteoporosis

Over time, bone loss weakens the legs and spine, which limits the ability to move around easily. Although women are at greater risk of having osteoporosis, it can also affect men. Multiple factors impact whether or not someone develops osteoporosis, but most people can minimize bone loss by making sure they get enough calcium and vitamin D. Performing simple weight-bearing exercises can also strengthen bones. Keep in mind seniors shouldn’t lift large amounts of weight if they aren’t used to it. Instead, focus on helping your loved one do body weight exercises, such as walking and leg lifts, to build strength.

Cognitive Disorders

Mobility isn’t just affected by the muscles and joints. It’s also affected by how neural communication in the brain functions. Cognitive disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s generate changes in the brain that affect mobility. For instance, your loved one may need accommodations such as a walker or a caregiver’s steady arm if his or her legs suddenly get stiff due to Parkinson’s disease.

Arthritis

There are several different types of arthritis, and all of them can impact the ability to safely and comfortably walk from one place to another. Arthritis tends to affect the knees and ankles the worst, which could make walking painful. Encourage your loved one to perform stretches every day to retain his or her abilities, and talk to his or her physician about treatments that can keep joints limber.

Loss of mobility can severely limit the ability to age in place safely and comfortably, but help is available. Rhode Island home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.