What is Mobility?
Mobility, as defined by Taina Rantanen, is “the physical ability to move… [and] is necessary for accessing commodities, making use of neighborhood facilities, and participation in meaningful social, cultural, and physical activities.”
Essentially, mobility refers to the act of moving, especially outside of the house—a person’s capability of getting into and out of cars, of walking and sitting outside, and movement in general. When we are young, we have greater mobility, we can run, lift weights, climb trees, hop in and out of cars…the list goes on. However, as we age, our mobility starts to deteriorate. Our joints ache, our bones get brittle, and our flexibility wanes.
Often, senior citizens lose their mobility with age, resulting in less flexibility, uncertainty on their feet, and even falls. Each year, one in three seniors over the age of 65 will fall, resulting in roughly 21,700 deaths. So, what can we do to maintain mobility in seniors?
How to Maintain Senior Mobility
In order to maintain mobility, doctors take the “Use it or Lose it,” approach. Just like an object in motion is more likely to remain in motion, a mobile senior will likely remain mobile longer than the senior who is not mobile.
So, just how do senior citizens maintain their mobility? We’ve previously discussed exercises seniors can perform at home, all of which are excellent exercises to help seniors maintain their mobility, but the first question to ask is, “How mobile am I?” Once you’ve assessed your level of mobility, then you can move forward with maintaining mobility, or building mobility:
- Can I confidently walk at least ½ mile?
- Can I get into/out of cars unassisted?
- Can I touch my toes?
- How often do I worry about falling?
- If I fell, could I get back up again?
If you are unsure of your answers, or answered “no,” to at least three of the five questions, then you may need help when you work on your mobility. Like a trainer who spots their athletes, Companion Services help you with mobility exercises so that you have the confidence to push yourself without risking a fall. For your safety, make sure you have someone present when working on your mobility.
If you’ve answered “no” to less than three of these questions, then basic exercises like toe touches and squats, combined with walking, are fantastic ways to maintain your mobility. However, whenever you decide to push yourself (an extra set of toe touches, or squatting deeper for a wider range of motion), be sure to do so with a partner.
The Importance of Senior Mobility
Without mobility, seniors need extra assistance for nearly every task. Research shows that limited mobility results in sedentary lifestyles, which can lead to less social interactions, a weak immune system, and even life-threatening falls. However, with determination and a Companion, seniors can regain their confidence, increase their mobility, and lead an overall healthy life.