Senior Caregivers | August 16, 2016
Mobility is a serious safety issue. Within a year, 20% of people with hip fractures die from complications.
We all experience a decrease in balance and mobility as we age. In fact 20% to 30% of Canadian seniors experience a fall each year. The good thing is through exercise, proper medical care, good nutrition, and some preventative measures, seniors can dramatically reduce their risk of mobility issues.
As we grow older, problems associated with aging can affect a person’s ability to move around, or mobility. Mobility problems may include unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair, or falls. Muscle weakness, joint problems, pain, disease, and neurological difficulties can all contribute to mobility problems. Sometimes several mild problems combine and occur simultaneously, affecting mobility. It can also make the difference between living at home or in a facility.
Falls are a major cause of injury and death, so prevention is important. Older bones break more easily, heal less quickly, and may not heal completely. If a hip is fractured, canes, walkers, or wheelchairs might be permanently needed. If the senior is afraid of falling, address it, or he or she may become afraid to move around.
Doctors often check for heart and lung problems, and screening for mobility can be put off, or even overlooked. This can be surprising, since tests for mobility can be relatively simple. With the “Get Up and Go Test”, a person is asked to stand up from sitting in a chair, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back to the chair, and sit down. How long it takes and how steady the person is can then be noted. Another way is just to watch how quickly people walk. They should walk faster than a yard per second. If you walk that or faster, you’re in the normal range; if you’re slower, you may have a gait problem, which increases the chances of falling.
An approach the University of Alabama researchers use is to ask two simple questions:
For health or physical reasons . . .
These questions can be asked prior to testing. A senior probably knows if he or she is having trouble climbing stairs ─ and walking one-quarter of a mile is equal to one lap around a medium-sized mall’s upper level.
Comfort Keepers® can help. About one-quarter of Canadians over age 65 need help with everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and getting in and out of bed or a chair. Our trained caregivers can help with these and other tasks, while providing companionship. Comfort Keepers can also have someone perform home safety assessments to identify fall hazards, and make recommendations to improve safety. Call your local office today!
Comfort Keepers®’ trained caregivers help provide senior clients with the highest quality of life possible to keep them happy and healthy at home. Our Interactive Caregiving™ provides a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs).
For additional information on Comfort Keepers of Canada® at Toronto or any other Comfort Keepers of Canada® location please visit our home page or call us at 416-663-2930.