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Mobility Improvement Tips for Seniors

August 17, 2017


Canes and walking sticks

Mobility is one of the most common concerns among aging seniors. Currently, just under 40% of Americans aged 85 and over uses mobility devices. Chronic health conditions, post surgical recovery, and declining muscle strength can make mobility a problem for many. Fortunately, there are ways to improve mobility and to ensure the patient is able to get around safely.

Work with a physical therapist
A physical therapist can do wonders with muscles and chronic health problems. Even if a patient has an injury or chronic pain condition, a physical therapist can help to strengthen the surrounding muscles, thus improving mobility. The therapist can also teach the elderly patient new methods of getting around. For example, the arms may need to be strengthened to use a manual wheelchair. The shoulder may need therapy to effectively use a cane for walking. Physical therapists take each client?s situation into consideration and develop a rehabilitation plan for that individual client.

Deal with the chronic health condition
Although this is not always a possibility, or does not always improve mobility, it can be helpful for some. Dealing with chronic back pain, for example, can affect mobility. While using decorative walking canes can help a person with chronic back pain get around, sometimes it is best to deal with the chronic health condition first. Working with a primary care physician and any referred specialists can get a diagnosis and treatment options that are available for that specific condition. Some health conditions may result in intermittent periods of poor mobility. Decorative walking canes can be used during these poor mobility times.

Walk daily
Walking daily is important in keeping the current working muscles strong. Walking is likely to look different for every patient. One patient may struggle to take a couple of steps with their walking stick, while another can make it around the block numerous times with minimal use of their wooden canes. The goal simply is to move as much as is possible, at least once per day. However, it is important to keep safety in mind and never walk when it could be dangerous. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. It is important to prevent this, as a fall could further damage the body and prevent additional walking.

Use mobility devices, when needed
There is nothing wrong with using mobility devices when they are needed. It is important, however, to choose one that matches the patient?s walking needs. A patient that is still able to move around rather freely should not be required to use a motorized wheelchair. Additionally, a patient who struggles to safely walk with class canes should not be required to use a cane at all times. Decorative walking canes can improve the look of the walking cane for the patient that wants something a little dressier. Working with a physical therapist or primary care physician can help to match the specific type of canes for sale with the patients walking needs.

Do daily exercises
Even if a patient is unable to walk without assistance daily, they can still complete basic daily exercises. These exercises will be customized to the patient and their current health concerns. However, the patient can complete these muscle strengthening exercises while lying in bed at night or sitting in a chair in front of the TV. Even patients who primarily use motorized scooters should work daily to increase their strength.

Just about 4.8 million Americans (70% of mobility device users) walk with a cane, making canes the most widely used mobility device in the U.S. Walking canes come in all types, including decorative walking canes and can be extremely beneficial for those seniors with mobility issues. It is still important to regularly visit with a physical therapist, walk daily, and continually work to strength the bodies muscles.

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