Whether we like it or not, age can bring many lifestyle changes. Mobility is often one of those things. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 16.3% of American adults struggle with mobility, impacting their freedom and independence. In 2015, retail spending on durable medical equipment like contact lenses, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, mobility accessories, and more, reached $48.5 billion, according to CMS.
Accepting the use of mobility devices like wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or scooters can be difficult. However, there are some undeniable signs that they are needed.
Tripping and falling can happen on occasion, but if it becomes a frequent occurrence, there may be a problem. This problem becomes even more obvious when the falling is happening in a person's own home. The body is unable to bear weight and sustain movements properly, causing a dangerous fall. Falling can lead to very serious injuries like broken limbs, broken hips, head injuries, internal bleeding, contusions, lacerations, and even death. These falls can be very harmful to a person’s health and wellbeing and it is imperative to get help if you are falling frequently.
To some people, this is one of the more surprising signs that it might be time for mobility assistance. Missing out on social activities with your friends and family because of decreased mobility can harm both your physical and mental state. Social isolation has been linked to shorter lifespans, increased risk of suicide, depression and more. Being isolated can also harm your physical wellbeing and lead to more severe mobility issues. Check out our blog from last week where we discuss how immobility can affect your bodily systems, here. Adding a mobility device, even as simple as a cane, can greatly increase your independence and happiness.
Walking and standing for very long periods of time normally results in fatigue, but if it's happening more and more frequently and after short stints, then mobility aids may be necessary. If the patient no longer wants to leave the house because fatigue comes so easily, then it's definitely time for mobility accessories. The addition of a mobility device, such as a wheelchair or walker with built-in seats can greatly help a person who becomes exhausted easily. Having that option can greatly improve your health by reducing any stress or anxiety, allowing you to have more control, increasing your physical activity, and decreasing your risk of developing any health issues due to a lack of social or physical inactivity.
Balance is something the human body is equipped with so that mobility can be completed with ease. When balance is lacking, coordination decreases, and the chances of a fall are much more likely. Some indications that a loss of balance is occurring are if your holding on to walls and furniture for balance or have a frequent fear of falling. Mobility aids like canes can help those who still walk but have difficulty balancing by providing support for the center of gravity.
Walking can become difficult, even when the path is flat. The problem is very serious if standing for short periods of time becomes difficult as well. Standing can become exhausting and even painful for those struggling with mobility.
It may be hard to convince a loved one that they need help with basic, daily routines, but presenting these signs can help convince them. They do not have to lose their freedom and independence if they invest in mobility accessories to help them continue to get around. Even something as simple as a cane can greatly increase their or your wellbeing, happiness and independence. If they help you live a better life and increase your comfort than what’s stopping you?