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Supporting your Elderly Parent with Mobility Issues

Mobility issues are a common challenge affecting the elderly, which means if you are involved in caring for your ageing parent, it’s likely that mobility problems will crop up as a concern for you and your loved one.

From trips and falls, to difficulties with walking, and getting in and out of bed, mobility problems can have a serious impact on your parent’s day-to-day life. Restricted movement will also limit their independence and may impact their social and emotional well-being, with reduced opportunities to pursue their favourite hobbies or socialise as they used to.

So, what can you do to improve your elderly parent’s quality of life and keep them mobile for as long as possible?

Make changes to their home

Making alterations to your parent’s living environment can have a huge impact on their safety and confidence when moving around the home. Some common modifications include installing grabrails or additional handrails, adapting bathroom facilities to include a level access shower, or installing a stairlift where appropriate.

Before making any changes to the home, you may want to consult an occupational therapist who can assess your parent’s individual needs and make specific recommendations. Some adaptations can be expensive so you might also want to find out if your parent is eligible for financial assistance. Visit the Citizen’s Information website for details of the various housing adaptation and mobility grants available.

Provide emotional support

For many people with mobility problems, quality of life can suffer as basic needs such as eating, going to the toilet, and washing become more challenging. Even minor mobility problems can be a cause for concern, increasing social isolation and prompting loneliness, boredom, or depression.

Asking for help with day-to-day tasks isn’t easy for any parent, while for children, it can be difficult to see their parent experiencing a loss of independence. An empathetic outlook therefore goes a long way to resolving any conflict, particularly if your parent is reluctant to accept help or feels they don’t want to be a burden to their family.

Allow them to retain as much independence as possible and discuss any changes with them before making alterations to their home or routine. The greater their control over their day-to-day lives, the more comfortable your parent will feel with any necessary changes.

Follow physiotherapy advice

If your parent is experiencing mobility issues, a visit to the GP is a good idea. They will be able to diagnose any underlying health conditions that may be affecting mobility, such as arthritis or osteoporosis. They may also recommend physiotherapy treatment to increase or improve your elderly relative’s strength and stability.

A physiotherapist will assess your parent’s ability to complete everyday tasks such as standing up, sitting down, or getting out of bed. They will then suggest a series of specific exercises designed to increase their strength and improve balance and coordination. With targeted exercise, your parent’s risk of a trip or fall can be significantly reduced.

elderly man smiling with hands on walking stick

Invest in mobility aids such as an adjustable bed

Appropriate mobility aids can significantly improve your parent’s day-to-day life. Your GP or physiotherapist may make specific recommendations, but there are also plenty of mobility aids you can investigate for yourself. Walkers, walking sticks and wheelchairs can all increase independence and make it possible to get out and about again.

Inside the home there are also various gadgets and equipment that can make life easier. An electric adjustable bed, for example, can transform your parent’s quality of life, ensuring they can easily sit up in bed. And if getting in and out of bed becomes more challenging, you’ll have peace of mind that your loved one can easily adjust their lying surface into several different positions, enabling them to find just the right angle for optimum comfort.

Want to find out if an adjustable bed could improve your parent’s quality of life? Contact the Adjustable Beds specialists and allow us to advise on the best solution for your parent’s needs.