If you spend a lot of time with an elderly loved one, it can be difficult to detect subtle changes in his or her behaviors and movements over time. But there are many early warning signs that suggest that a senior’s mobility is declining and that preventative measures should be taken sooner than later.
In this article, we highlight five signs of emerging mobility issues in older adults. With a better understanding of what these issues mean, family members and caregivers can be better prepared to care for their loved ones’ safety and wellbeing.
1. Loss of Balance While Walking
Many seniors begin to experience a loss of balance while walking, standing, and doing normal tasks around the house and out in the world. This could be due to medications that the senior is taking, arthritis, or inner ear issues like vertigo. Loss of balance may also be caused by nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, circulation problems, or vision difficulties.
2. Difficulty Going Up and Down Stairs
Stairs are incredibly difficult if you are developing mobility problems, and it’s often up to family members and caregivers to make stairs less of an obstacle. It’s a good idea to make stairs as well-lit as possible, remove carpets to prevent tripping, and to ensure that there are no nails sticking up through the stairs to prevent injuries. Stairlifts are very useful for seniors who want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
3. Abnormal Gait
Seniors also tend to develop an abnormal gait over time. Older adults tend to begin to walk differently than they used to, which can lead to devastating falls. These issues are often caused by changes in the senior’s body structure due to arthritis, osteoporosis, or other chronic conditions that affect mobility and flexibility.
4. Avoiding Certain Activities
If the senior in your life used to love going for walks in the park, gardening, working on crafts, or playing with grandkids and that’s no longer the case, then mobility limitations could be to blame. Seniors who have difficulty doing activities tend to avoid them, but this leads to even more overall health issues. When a senior does not continue beloved activities into old age, depression is an unfortunate and likely result.
5. Lower Personal Hygiene Standards
However, not all of the early warning signs about mobility limitations are visible in the way a senior walks and climbs stairs. In fact, you can tell a lot about how a senior is feeling, both physically and emotionally, by observing his or her hygiene habits. If your loved one has started to bathe less frequently or take less interest in his or her personal appearance, this could be a warning sign that mobility problems are emerging.
Getting Help with Dementia and Mobility Problems
As a family member or caregiver of an older adult, you shouldn’t panic or rush to any drastic decisions when you notice one or more of these early warning signs. Instead, you should accept that these are natural parts of aging and that many accidents and injuries can be prevented when the warning signs are noticed.
For example, many seniors can benefit from having a stairlift installed in their homes to make getting around the house easier. As a trusted provider of high-quality stairlifts for over 15 years, we recommend having a stairlift installed well before your loved one needs to solely depend upon it so that it can be slowly integrated into his or her daily routine. We proudly serve Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk with a wide variety of lifts to suit every senior and home. So, as soon as you notice one of these early warning signs, contact us to learn more about our stairlift options and how they can help keep your loved one safe and comfortable at home.