There comes a point in everyone’s lives where we can no longer ‘get about’ like we used to. Whether we’ve been used to hopping in the car, walking down to the local shops, or enjoying activities that have kept us fit, the loss of mobility has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences.
But despite things becoming more difficult, we need to appreciate the value of staying as physically active as we can. The less mobile we become, the more at risk we are of illness and injuries that could contribute to loneliness, lead to hospitalisation, varying levels of disability or anxiety and depression.
Luckily there are more alternatives today than there ever have been to help people manage their lives in later years. Improving your range of motion with regular exercise or considering alternative methods to help you achieve it will help improve your health and overall quality of life.
Here are some tips to help.
Exercise offers benefits to everyone, even elderly adults with limited mobility. It is essential to improve self-esteem, relieve stress, and reduce depression and even you are physically limited, then seated chair exercises that work different muscle groups in the body can still be of great benefit. Remember, add activity slowly at first and always consult a doctor before undertaking anything that pushes your physical limitations.
Start by being active for at least ten minutes every day; lifting some light weights (try cans of beans) or doing some exercises right from your chair such as stretches and twists, overhead arm raises, hand squeezes, inner thigh squeezes, knee lifts and extensions or even just taking a gentle walk around the block.
If your mobility is limited then it’s easy to choose quick and potentially unhealthy foods. But rich foods that are high in sugar and salt will do more harm than good! Remember that old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’? Try fruit or high protein snacks when you get a craving. Eating better makes you feel better, which will lead to feeling more active and alert.
Sleep is such an important part of our body’s ‘wellness toolbox’. The better the sleep, the more alert and focussed you can be in the day, avoiding careless accidents and falls though a lack of concentration.
You don’t have to join the local Am Dram – you could simply write books (maybe write your story for your children and grandchildren), perform music, or take up painting and sketching? Creativity is something that makes the mind happier. The best part of being creative is that you will always be challenging yourself to think about what you can do when trying to produce appealing and distinct works of art – and they make the perfect gifts for family and friends!
For a person with limited mobility the stairs can be a real issue. A stairlift can make a huge difference and allow you to live independently and still use your home as it was designed to be! However, remember that, despite the benefits there are additional considerations; what type of staircase you have (do you need a stairlift with a readymade rail or one that’s custom made), is it easy for you to use your hands to control it or would you need one with special adaptations (someone with arthritis in their hands may find an ergonomic control easier to use), what’s your budget, and is there good after sales support in case of it breaking down?
If you haven’t got your bus pass already then now’s the time to do it. Public transport is a lifeline for people without cars. In England you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the female State Pension age, whether you’re a man or a woman. If you live in London, you can travel free on buses, tubes and other transport when you’re 60, but only within London.
If you are a senior citizen who isn’t always comfortable with walking then you should consider purchasing a mobility scooter. They offer incredible convenience when used on a daily basis and can truly improve your quality of life. They are not wheelchairs, they are a car in different form – but without the hassle – plus you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one. They are easy to work, safe and comfy and will give you that freedom you had previously lost!