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HEALTHY AGEING

How to improve mobility in the over 60s

Many people experience mobility issues as they age, which can impact quality of life. View our tips to maintain and improve mobility in over 60s.

June 07, 2022

Elderly man with daughter

Many people find that their mobility can start to decrease as they get older. Whether it’s general aches and pains, chronic health conditions or changes to lifestyle which mean they are now less active, mobility can start to decline, which can have a significant impact on independence and quality of life.

If mobility around the home or when out and about becomes more challenging, it can increase the risks of a fall or another kind of accident too.

In this article, we offer some useful tips that can help older people maintain or improve their mobility and balance, assisting them with enjoying a full and independent life.

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The importance of mobility in the elderly

Many people start to experience issues with moving around in later life. Sometimes this can be due to disability, illness or chronic pain and sometimes due to lifestyle changes that result in less daily activity being carried out, which can cause a deterioration in mobility too.

As mobility becomes more of a challenge, older people often find that their balance can also be affected, which can make it far more likely that they experience a fall or another kind of accident at home or when out and about.

This can be very worrying for the older individual, as well as their loved ones, and can result in a lack of confidence in carrying out their daily activities and the things they enjoy, which can have a huge impact on someone’s physical and mental health, along with their general quality of life.

 

How to improve mobility in the elderly

Improving or maintaining the current level of mobility as much as possible, for as long as possible, can help to counteract some issues, which can be an enormous help to the wellbeing of both body and mind.

We’ve compiled some tips for helping with mobility for those aged 60+, as the earlier that someone takes action in this area, the better the chances that they will stay more mobile for longer as they age.

 

Think about activities rather than exercise

As we get older, the prospect of an exercise regime can be off-putting. It can make much more sense to look at some specific activities instead that can help with mobility, flexibility and balance.

Introducing a greater quantity and range of gentle movements into everyday activity can feel much more achievable and can have a beneficial impact on the older person and their confidence when moving around.

Activities to improve balance & flexibility

Struggling with balance can be frightening, as it can often lead to a fall or another kind of accident. Any sudden symptoms like dizziness or unsteadiness must be checked out by medical professionals to make sure no underlying conditions are causing them.

However, many older people will find that it’s just something that starts to affect them at times, and there can be activities that might help.

Tai Chi is a practice that involves gentle stretching and breathing exercises that can really help with balance without being physically demanding. It helps with flexibility, strengthens muscles and can also improve general fitness and endurance over time.

Many of those with chronic health conditions are also able to participate in Tai Chi and it’s also known for helping to reduce stress levels. In terms of mobility exercises for elderly people, there is some evidence that Tai Chi specifically helps with balance and can help reduce the risk of falls.

Elderly man doing yoga

Seated yoga is something that can also be beneficial for balance and is suitable for most people with varying degrees of existing mobility.

Gentle, controlled movements that are low impact for joints make this an ideal activity for those getting older who don’t want to partake in rigorous exercise.

 

Activities to improve range of movement

Simply incorporating some meaningful movements into everyday activities can make a big difference to mobility over time and are often much easier to introduce than a structured exercise plan or routine.

These can include things like:

  • Walking from room to room more often at home
  • Practising standing from a seated position without assistance (take it slowly)
  • Rolling and flexing the ankles and wrists while seated – great for doing while watching TV
  • Simple head turns, slowly turning the head from side to side and then up and down, making sure that back is straight, and shoulders are relaxed – in their natural position
  • Gently reaching with the arms – ideal for when doing gentle housework tasks such as dusting

 

Elderly man stretching

Other mobility exercises for elderly people

If an elderly person has been less active than they used to be or has stayed at home more, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic, it might be that they aren’t as confident doing things like going for gentle walks outside as they once were.

However, daily walks, no matter how short, can be beneficial for mobility, general wellbeing and improve mental health, providing the older person with a change in environment and some fresh air.

Even a short stroll to the end of the street and back, or around the block, can all help with improving mobility over time and is a manageable exercise for many people as they age.

Swimming can be a beneficial activity for those with limited mobility, as being in water takes all the pressure off joints. Many public swimming baths have sessions set aside for older swimmers, or those who want to take it gently rather than try for a particular number of lengths. There are also often classes run in local community pools specifically for those who are older or have some mobility challenges.

 

Peace of mind for those with worries about mobility in later years

If you have an elderly relative or loved one who you think is starting to have some challenges with their mobility, there are ways that you can help in addition to assisting with some of the activities already mentioned.

Where confidence is an issue, especially if it comes to reluctance to leave the home or move around their home and garden because they are worried about having a fall or accident, a fall detector might help. This is a type of personal alarm for the elderly that detects when the wearer falls over and will raise an alert for assistance.

There are mobile GPS alarms with this fall detecting technology too, so they can be used when out and about and send the wearer’s location if needed. A personal alarm and GPS tracker combined in one device can take all of the worries out of a visit with friends, a day trip or even a holiday.

In this kind of situation, where a personal alarm can help an elderly person to be more confident moving around at home and outdoors or when doing hobbies or other things they enjoy, it can provide them with the reassurance that there is always help on hand if it’s required. This kind of system is also invaluable to concerned relatives and friends, who know that the alarm is there to help when they are not around.

Find out more about personal alarms

View our full range of products to find the best personal alarm for your circumstances.

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