The first signs of declining mobility are generally the most physically noticeable ones. Of course, there may be several underlying causes for diminished mobility and movement, but the ability to identify the early signs can help in the long run. For caregivers especially, it's important to learn and understand the symptoms so their loved one stays safe, mobile and independent for as long as possible.
A short checklist of behaviors to keep an eye on may include:
● Walking slower than normal, focusing on every step.
● Walking differently, stumbling or struggling to raise up from the seated position.
● Increases in sedentary behavior or avoidance of physical activity.
● Staying in or at home alone, avoiding opportunities to get out with family and friends.
Our minds and bodies are stronger than we tend to give them credit for. They’re also strongly linked. At times, our bodies move slower or we make avoidances because we’re afraid we might fall. This change in pace or slowness is usually the first noticeable sign of a decline in mobility because this subconscious physical reaction comes with a declining amount of trust in the body.
Additionally, the physical environment might present new walking difficulties; long hills, poor street conditions or busy traffic crossings are all somewhat larger challenges when mobility is a concern. This is when assistance is needed most.
It goes without saying that it is important to find ways to increase or maintain an active lifestyle. Because musculoskeletal pain is common among older people, especially those with impaired balance and limited mobility, a decrease in physical activity may lead to a decrease in muscle strength which compounds to further limit free movement.
For caregivers, it’s important to observe movements like handgrip strength, elbow and knee extension, squatting/standing ability, or simply listening to self-reported walking difficulties. Full and painless movement correlates with mobility, and two of the most immediate prerequisites for normal walking are lower extremity strength and balance while maintaining a correct posture.
In terms of mobility assistance, the Motivo Tour is designed for the user who wants to stay active. As with most things, the early recognition of need is key to understanding what solutions are available. If you have questions about how the Motivo Tour can be an early solution for mobility needs, call us at 414.235.9409.