Overcoming Conditions That Affect Mobility

Our bodies are amazing in terms of movement. There are over 650 muscles and 206 bones that work together to allow for a range of mobility.
Moving around is such a natural thing to us that we rarely think twice about it until the ability is taken away. Throughout life, a number of issues can take away our mobility. They range from natural processes to injury to illness.

Age-Related Issues

As we age, a number of physical changes occur. Bones become more brittle, muscles get weaker, joints lose flexibility and muscle control can wane. As a result, elderly individuals may have more difficulty getting around.

Staying physically active and taking calcium supplements can help decrease these age-related issues, but they can’t be avoided entirely. The best thing you can do is reduce mobility obstacles.

The biggest risk for seniors with age-related mobility issues is navigating staircases. Going up a flight of stairs can be physically exerting and increases the risk of a devastating fall. Home modifications that you may want to consider in a two-story house include residential elevators or a stairlift. These additions are actually more affordable than ever thanks to technological advances. In most cases, they can be installed without major modifications to the existing structure of the home.

Another home renovation you may want to consider is installing a walk-in tub. This allows seniors to open and door and step into the tub rather than having to lift their legs over the side.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a very common medical condition that affects about 350 million people worldwide. Age, genetics, injury, and infections can all lead to arthritis. The disease causes painful inflammation in the joints, which can become so severe it impacts a person’s ability to get around.

Medications, physical therapy or even surgery may be needed to control arthritis symptoms. However, living with arthritis also means making adjustments to overcome mobility issues. Luckily, there are a number of home hacks that can help people with arthritis get around and get things done.

  • Organize closets so that items are within easy reach.
  • Make sure staircases have handrails that are easy to grip.
  • Use a dehumidifier. Humidity can make joint pain worse.
  • In the kitchen, convert cupboards into sliding drawers so items are easier to reach.
  • Install motion sensor lights.

Poor Eyesight

Getting around is difficult if you have trouble seeing. Reduced vision can be another side effect of aging, but poor eyesight can affect people of all ages. Glasses and contacts are often required to correct vision issues. Today laser eye surgery is also possible, however, it isn’t an option for everyone.

The key to overcoming eyesight-related mobility issues is to improve the lighting around the home. There are a number of things you can do to add more illumination.

Start by making sure all the light bulbs in the house are functioning. You may also want to consider replacing fluorescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact-fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs that emit more light.

Another step that’s a little more involved is installing motion sensor lights. This eliminates the need to make your way to the light switch in the dark. You can also use smart light bulbs that can be controlled by a phone or tablet. These bulbs allow you to turn the light on from another room or put them on a schedule so that lights turn on when it’s dark out.

Obesity

Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. More than a third of adults are now considered obese. Carrying around extra weight makes mobility much more difficult. Obesity can also increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes.

Those who are deemed clinically obese are highly encouraged to take steps to lose weight. When immobility is a factor, diet should be adjusted to reduce caloric intake. In extreme cases, bariatric surgery may be needed. Whenever possible, physical activity should be increased starting with walking a short distance.

All of the renovations already noted above can be used when obesity affects mobility. It’s also important to make sure walkways are wide and free of clutter. If the person uses a mobility device, ensure that all doorways and walkways are large enough to accommodate the equipment.