Changes in your parents' physical mobility are to be expected with age. However, as a caregiver, there's plenty you can do to help keep your senior parent safe, mobile and independent. Who knows? The answer could be a high-performing motorized scooter or an easy-to-operate power wheelchair.1
Signs of Elderly Mobility Loss
Below, are three physical signs of mobility loss you should be on the look out for. Depending on other physical and health-related factors, any one of these symptoms could signal your parents' need for personal mobility assistance.
- Bruising — The appearance of unexplained bruises is always cause for alarm. Although there are a number of common medications which may contribute to easy bruising (the blood thinner, Coumadin, is one example), black and blue marks might also be the result of your parent bumping into furniture or, worse yet, of having suffered a recent fall.
- Stumbling — Clinically-defined as gait, the way your parents walk is a strong indicator of their mobility competence. If you notice they are walking slower than usual, dragging their feet, shuffling, stumbling and/or losing their balance, you need to take action immediately on their behalf.
- Get Up & Go Struggles — According to geriatric research studies, weakening of the muscles is a major indication of impending mobility loss. This may be manifested as difficulty climbing a minimum of 10 steps, or requiring more than 15 seconds to get up from a seated position. Someone who struggles in this way is at a greater risk for falls and injury.
What Caregivers Can Do About Parental Loss of Mobility
Once you've concluded that your parent shows definite physical signs of mobility loss, one of the first things to do is to recommend a complete physical. You should also discuss options in mobility products—such as a mobility scooter or a power chair—for your parents' continued independence and safety.
Call 800-542-7236 and speak with a Hoveround Mobility Specialist for more information on what you can do as a caregiver. If your loved one needs a motorized scooter for getting around, we can help. If your aging parent might benefit from a power wheelchair, we can help. If you need to learn more about medically prescribed mobility products that may be covered by insurance, we can help with that as well.2
For more than twenty-five years, Hoveround has been providing the best options in personal mobility solutions to caregivers and their loved ones living with limited mobility.Let us do the same for you.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice.
1Consultation with a physician, physical therapist, and/or other professionally-trained mobility specialist, will best determine if, and which type of, power mobility equipment may be most beneficial for a particular individual's needs.
2Insurance coverage depends on medical necessity as determined by insurer. Valid doctor's prescription required. Find out more about Medicare's benefit for power scooters and power wheelchairs by visiting Medicare.gov.
Sources: Okumiya K, Matsubayashi K, Nakamura T, et al. The Timed “Up & Go” Test is a Useful Predictor of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older People. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998;46:928–930 and Vellas BJ, Wayne SJ, Romero LJ, Baumgartner RN, Garry PJ. Fear of falling; Restriction of Mobility in Elderly Fallers. Age and Ageing 1997;26:189–193.