Benjamin Franklin certainly had it right: An ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure. When it comes to uncovering and addressing mobility issues in the elderly, prevention is essential. Falls in older adults result in 3 million emergency room visits, 300,000 hip fractures, and 32,000 deaths each year, according to research by the CDC.
Get ahead of a tragedy by keeping an eye out for these warning signs of increasing mobility issues in seniors:
- Experiencing dizziness. Dizziness and difficulties with balance can arise from a variety of contributing factors that ultimately cause problems with mobility. It is important to learn why these issues are taking place and attend to them immediately.
- Struggling to sit or stand. Notice whether or not the senior finds it hard 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 a senior loved one who previously engaged in some degree of exercise but now is choosing a more inactive lifestyle. Exhaustion or weakness may cause problems with mobility.
- Steering clear of stairs. A senior who appears to be getting around just fine but is avoiding going up or down stairs could be fearful of falling due to mobility changes.
One easy and effective option to determine mobility and fall risk in seniors is the TUG (Timed Up and Go) test. The test should be performed on a frequent basis. Here is all it takes:
- Place a sturdy chair against the wall.
- Mark a distance of ten feet from the wall.
- Have the senior sit in the chair.
- When you tell them to go, start a timer, and have the person stand, walk towards the 10’ mark, turn around, come back and sit down again.
Remember to stand nearby while the older adult performs the test to provide support if needed. Track the results during a period of time and share with the person’s physician for guidance. Find further information about the test along with a downloadable one-page evaluation sheet.
If you pick up on any of these signs, it is time to have a frank conversation with the older adult. Let the person know you are concerned, and schedule an appointment for a check-up with the physician. The utilization of some simple mobility aids might make a world of improvement in maintaining safety and independence.
Connect with CareWorks Health Services at (949) 859-4700 for additional fall prevention strategies for older adults, and to learn about the countless ways we can help improve quality of life for a senior you love. We are proud to offer our award-winning in home care in Newport Beach and the nearby communities.