Mobility issues can be frustrating for many seniors, especially men. The loss of mobility often decreases independence, and can lead to depression, anger, and other health issues. These tips can help manage his frustration, rebuild his confidence, and foster independence for a higher quality of life.
1. Offer Encouragement and AssistanceFor many older adults, problems with mobility signal major life changes. Once mobility changes begin, new physical limitations follow. You can help your dad through this challenge by supporting his emotions. Ensure that he speaks with his doctor if his anger or depression becomes overwhelming. Another key to building your dad’s independence is offering assistance, but avoid being overbearing. Let him know that you are there to support him, but allow him the independence to accomplish daily living activities on his own.
2. Choose the Right Mobility Assistive DevicesAssistive walking devices can make a huge difference in your dad’s independence. His doctor or therapist may suggest he use a cane or walker for walking around the home and in public. There are also other devices that can be used to help your dad remain independent in his living environment. Items like transfer discs can help him get out of bed. Chair risers can help him get up from his favorite chair. A shower chair can make it possible for him to bathe on his own. Talk to your dad’s doctor or therapist about how these devices can help him live more independently.
3. Help Build IndependenceOne of the main reasons limited mobility issues may frustrate your dad is because it could impact his independence. Once he recognizes that he is still capable of getting around on his own with the help of assistive devices, his confidence and sense of independence may be restored. Investing in a medical alert system, like the Lively Mobile, can also help your dad feel more confident and safe living with his mobility issues. Knowing that help is just the press of a button away allows your dad to live more independently and gives you peace of mind.
4. Improve Balance and Walking with GamesDecreased balance is a common problem in seniors with mobility issues. Rehabilitative techniques, like physical therapy, can help to restore balance and mobility in seniors. Recent evidence suggests that a popular video game system can be helpful. Popularly used in many rehabilitation facilities, the Nintendo Wii can improve physical fitness and balance in seniors, says the American Physical Therapy Association. A recent study cited in the Journal of Aging Research found that seniors who played the Wii Fit’s fun games, like tennis, bowling, and boxing, saw substantial improvements in their balance and walking. Another study published in Radiology followed men and women with multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms who used the Nintendo Wii balance board. After a period of 12 weeks, they exhibited positive changes in the part of the brain responsible for balance and movement.
Be sure to talk to your dad’s doctor or therapist about how to safely incorporate the Wii into his routine. For more exercise ideas, check out our post on helping Dad stay fit.