Aug 11, 2017 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing
In 2014, the CDC reported there are 15.7 million seniors with one or more disabilities. Of those people, 66 percent admit they have a hard time walking. This makes it hard to live independently. A lack of mobility increases a fall risk due to weakened muscles and joint pain. Blood circulation decreases raising the risk for things like blood clots in the veins.
Aging adults should take every step possible to maintain mobility for as long as possible. An elder care agency can help seniors live safely at home, but it's important for seniors to be able to walk around the house and yard. Start with these exercise routines that can help with mobility skills.
Fit in exercises that help improve balance. You may want to do these with your parent to demonstrate how to do them. Your mom or dad will need a sturdy chair or table for support.
While holding onto the piece of furniture, lift one foot off the ground by pulling the knee up towards the chest. Hold the pose for a count of 10, put the foot back down, and switch legs. Do this five times per leg. After doing the first exercise, instead of lifting the knee towards the chest, raise the leg to the side. Do this five times per leg. Finally, lift the left straight back, again doing the exercise for five lifts per leg.
As your parent improves his or her balance, the supportive chair or table may not be as necessary. That's the goal. As you find your mom or dad needing less support, increase the number of leg lifts.
Improving muscle tone also helps with mobility. Your mom or dad can strengthen the muscles around the knees from the comfort of a dining room chair. Have your parent sit down with the back straight and then straighten and lift the leg up so that it is parallel to the floor. Switch legs and repeat the exercise. Do this five times for each leg.
The next exercise requires your mom or dad to stand against the wall. Have them slide until they are as far into a squatting position as they can manage. Stand back up and repeat for 10 squats.
As your parent builds muscle, the exercises may become too easy. When that happens, increase the number of times they do the leg lifts or squats. You can also have them add an ankle weight to make the leg lifts more challenging.
While your mom or dad works on mobility skills, have a caregiver on hand to help with fall prevention and household chores. Call an elder care agency to learn more.
If you or an elderly loved one are considering elder care in Califon, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.