Helen Weston is a qualified physiotherapist who founded Mobile Rehab in 1996; she is key to its continuous development as Australia’s leading privately owned organisation in the provision of allied health services within aged care and community-based rehabilitation.
Too often people end up in a nursing home because of a broken hip or fall, which means you immediately lose that mobility and independence. So, how do we make sure we keep our mobility?
Whether you’re taking care of a loved one or looking to keep your own independence as you get older, there’s no denying the importance of mobility.
There are two distinct reasons why mobility is so important to protect as we get older:
- So that people can do their own ‘activities of daily living’ (known as ADLs).
- So that people can be connected and be able to interact socially.
When you think about it, even the act of going to see the doctor requires reasonable mobility and provides social activity. Mobility is the vehicle that allows people to have flexibility to interact with their community – from family and friends, to their doctor or the staff at the supermarket.
- Walking is a winner -For most older people, walking has always been a part of their life. Walking is a social activity, and an opportunity to connect to family and loved ones. It doesn’t require equipment and it’s low risk, so it’s the perfect way to get around.
- Maintaining the sit-to-stand - The sit-to-stand motion allows a person to get up from a chair, get out of a car and get off the toilet. Once you lose the ability to stand from a seated position, your mobility is significantly decreased.
- Incorporate incidental exercise wherever possible -Incidental exercise is a great way to build and maintain fitness. This could be as simple as parking a little further away from the supermarket and walking a little further to get there.
- Seeking help for balance impairment - Balance impairment is something you or your loved one may experience when getting older, and it’s tricky to improve on your own. Balance needs to be challenged to be improved – a trained professional is your best bet to safely achieve better balance.
What To Remember
Maintaining and/or improving mobility is fundamental to ageing well. From incidental exercise to seeking professional help for a balance impairment, there are plenty of ways you can help yourself or a loved one to maintain mobility.
In saying this, having meaningful relationships and activities, as well as staying current, are also equally important. Consider how you can continue to stay connected to others, as well as how your loved ones can do the same.