Benjamin Franklin certainly had it right: An ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure. When it comes to detecting and addressing senior mobility issues, prevention is a must. Falls in older adults result in 3 million emergency room visits, 300,000 hip fractures, and 32,000 deaths each year, according to the CDC.
Get ahead of a tragedy by keeping an eye out for these warning signs of increasing senior mobility issues:
- Experiencing dizziness. Dizziness and difficulties with balance can develop from a variety of factors that ultimately cause problems with mobility. It is important to uncover why these problems are taking place and attend to them as soon as possible.
- Struggling to sit or stand. Notice if the older adult finds it challenging to either stand up from a seated position or to sit back down. Do they need something to hold onto for support?
- Skipping physical activity. Another warning sign is an older adult who previously engaged in some degree of exercise but now is choosing a more sedentary lifestyle. Weakness or exhaustion can lead to problems with mobility.
- Steering clear of stairs. An older adult who appears to be getting around just fine but is avoiding going up or down stairs could be fearful of falling because of mobility changes.
One simple and effective way to gauge senior mobility issues and fall risk in seniors is the TUG (Timed Up and Go) test. The test should be carried out on a frequent basis. Here’s all it will require:
- Place a sturdy chair against the wall.
- Mark a distance of 10’ from the wall.
- Have your loved one sit in the chair.
When you tell them to go, start a timer, and have the person stand, walk to the ten foot mark, turn around, come back and sit down again.
Remember to stand close by as the older adult performs the test to provide support if necessary. Track the results over a period of time and share with the person’s physician for guidance. Find further information about the test in addition to a downloadable one-page assessment sheet here.
In the event that you pick up on any of these signs, it is time for you to have a frank conversation with the senior. Let the person know you are concerned, and schedule an appointment for a check-up with the physician. The implementation of some simple mobility aids might make a world of improvement in maintaining independence and safety.
Get in touch with Serenity Home Care at 250-590-8098 for additional fall prevention strategies for seniors and to find out about the various ways we are available to improve quality of life for an older adult you love. We proudly provide at home care in Langford and throughout the surrounding communities.