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Getting out of the car, sitting up in bed, or standing up from a chair can be challenging for elderly parents or patients. Whether they need support after surgery or because they have chronic conditions such as arthritis, seniors can retain mobility with techniques and tools. 

Reasons for Mobility Loss and Ways to Help
While surgery can create a temporary loss of mobility for older adults, the erosion of movement over time links to several causes, including the following:

  • A sedentary lifestyle which, according to research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the American Association for Retired People (AARP), involves sitting 5+ hours each day. With low activity rates (less than 3 hours of activity weekly), sedentary adults had a risk of mobility loss 3 times greater than more active seniors.
  • Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that erodes the hip, knee, and thumb joints. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that more than half of Americans older than 65 have symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Cognitive disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer's, can affect mobility. The brain needs cognitive power to tell muscles how to walk, and as brain function diminishes, mobility declines.

A quick method that medical researchers recommend for evaluating your senior's mobility includes:

  • The Get Up and Go Test. Ask your parent or patient to stand up from sitting in a chair, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back to the chair, and sit down. Note how long the test takes and if your senior remains steady.
  • Asking 2 questions, and if the answer to either is 'yes,' it's time to explore ways to improve mobility:
    • Do you have difficulty climbing 10 stairs?
    • Do you struggle to walk a quarter of a mile (roughly the upper level of an indoor mall)?

Ways to improve mobility are dependent on the condition of your elderly patient.

  • A simple exercise that will help with essential functions like getting out of bed or sitting on a toilet is the sit-to-stand activity. Using a sturdy chair (and supervision as appropriate), patients practice standing up and sitting down several times daily to build balance and muscle strength.
  • Encourage seniors who are sedentary to set a timer every hour that will remind them to stand up and walk.
  • Physical and occupational therapies can help improve mobility, balance, and daily activities. Mobility aids can also provide support and stability.

Mobility Aids to Maintain Independence

Kerr Medical offers several products to help seniors retain mobility.

  • For older adults who are still driving, auto accessories that aid with movement include bars, caddies, and cushions to make getting in and out of the car easier. 
  • Bed caddies and bed rails support patients into a sitting up position and facilitate getting out of bed.
  • Quad canes and couch canes help older adults while walking and when standing from a chair or sofa. The Assist-a-Tray mobility device incorporates a multi-use surface with a handle to use for standing.

At Kerr Medical, the safety of our customers is our priority. That's why we source products from manufacturers known for exceptional quality and integrity. Call us at 888.254.3444 for more information about our mobility aids or shop our online catalog. We're here to help improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers.
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