As you get older, mobility can sometimes become an issue. No one ever wants to need help with mobility and everyone wants to be independent. But sometimes, there are just certain tasks that can become more difficult to do as you get older.
There are certain things you can do to stay independent. But other tasks, you’ll find that it’s easier to delegate them to someone else; don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not only that, but forcing yourself to go past what your body is capable of can result in injuries that are permanent or more life-threatening.
You can safely increase your abilities by becoming more flexible through yoga and Pilates, by strength training, and doing exercises that work on your core for balance.
Mobility in Your Daily Living
Staying mobile and independent is what all senior citizens want. They have a strong desire to do what they’ve always done while still living in their own home. With a few adjustments, this is possible.
What those adjustments will need to be depends on your current mobility level – and any issues you may be having with it. Changes can be made in your home that can help with any issues that might cause you problems.
For example, if you have trouble maintaining your balance when you’re getting in and out of the tub, grab rails can be added along the sides of the tub for you to hold onto or have a walk in shower installed with grab rails. You can also have the toilet raised so that it’s at an easier height for you. You want to remain as active as you possibly can because this helps you retain mobility longer.
Plus, when you’re more active, it helps you maintain your overall health – both physically and mentally! Aging simply means that your body may slow down, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do what you enjoy doing – and that includes exercising; you just end up doing it slower.
If you don’t currently exercise, you may want to look into getting started. The reason for this is because exercise can help you maintain vitality, good heart health and strong muscles.
Not only that, but staying active can also keep up the dexterity in your limbs. Look for things that you can do that can help keep those muscles moving right. You can take up knitting or cross-stitch to keep your fingers and hands mobile. Working puzzles can also help – as can things like woodcarving and painting.
One of the major mobility issues that face people who grow older is accidental falls. This can be because as you age, your balance isn’t what it once was. This can be directly related to blood pressure, certain medications you may be on and losing elasticity in your veins. Many senior citizens fall each year. Some break a bone or two and never fully recover; they end up in a assisted care living facility or nursing home, thus losing much of their independence.
So what you want to do is make sure that your home is as fall-proof as possible. If you use area rugs in some of the rooms in your home, you may want to put those away. Tripping over a floor rug is a big contributor to falls.
Because you can experience vision changes that come along with getting older, you might find it helpful to sleep with some kind of night light on when you go to bed. This way, if you get up in the middle of the night for any reason, you can see well enough to keep from stumbling around and injuring yourself or falling.
In the kitchen, you can move things that are out of reach and need a step stool to access down into lower cabinets that you can reach without using a step stool. this will help prevent falls. You want to delegate tasks that are more dangerous for senior citizens to someone else younger.
For example, bending over into the tub to clean it can lead to a fall. So get a loved one or hire a cleaning service to do some of the heavier daily tasks. What you want to do is to look around your home and consider what might be an issue for you and take care of that before it does become one.
You want to do this with everyday tasks as well as any repairs or home maintenance that needs to be handled. Make sure that you still have the ability to take care of your physical needs.
If you can still cook for yourself, then do that. If you can’t, then have someone make your meals a week’s worth at a time so that when you’re ready to eat, you can just pop it into the stove or microwave.
Staying Behind the Wheel
Most states have laws regarding the elderly and having a driver’s license. You must be able to pass a vision test every time that you have your license renewed. If you do it online rather than visiting the DMV, you must submit proof that you’ve had and passed a recent eye exam done at your optometrist’s office. The reason that the states require this is because as you grow older, you can experience some struggles with vision as well as with certain tasks related to driving, such as night driving.
Keeping their ability to drive is extremely important for senior citizens. It represents the freedom to come and go as you please. Just because you get older, that doesn’t mean that you need to stop driving.
As long as you’re not having any issues, there’s no reason that you need to give it up. Check your car’s seat alignment and raise it if it needs to be raised. Also, make sure that you can comfortably see in all of the mirrors.
As you do get older, there can sometimes be issues with driving. By making some modifications, you can keep your driver’s license. If you’ve noticed older drivers before, especially on the interstate, many of them are driving at speeds that are well below the speed limit.
This can be dangerous for all of the other drivers as well as yourself. Even though the older drivers are simply being cautious and desire to drive at a safe speed for themselves, it can still pose a problem.
If you’ve been having some age-related mobility issues and you still want to drive, what you can do is make some simple adjustments. For example, just make sure that you drive shorter distances.
Stay on roads that are familiar to you – and go to local establishments. If you’ve been having some vision problems, avoid driving during the evening hours when visibility can be an issue.
If you do happen to need to drive on the interstate or go a long distance, get someone to go with you to do the driving for you. You’ll also gain the benefit of getting to spend some time with a friend or loved one.
Don’t drive when the weather is bad. As you get older, your reaction times can slow down. So if the rain is coming down in sheets, wait until the weather has cleared before you go out in the car. Same rule applies if there’s snowy weather.
Getting to and from your vehicle in winter weather can make it easier to slip on an icy walkway. Make sure that you have someone maintain the care of your vehicle such as with the tires and wiper blades – things that can impact your driving.
Don’t leave things to chance as it will win out every time. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness, but one of smartness!
In Part 2, we’ll talk about keeping up at work, outsourcing work to make your life easier and when it is time to ask for help.