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How Many Seniors Are Suffering from Mobility Issues, and What Causes Mobility Issues in the Elderly?

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Mobility issues are common as we age. Our body starts to slow down, and most organs do not function as efficiently as they once did. Mobility problems can be as mild as walking unsteadily or as severe as not being able to walk or move without support. 

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, most mobility issues people report range between 59 and 67 years. Moreover, out of all the age-related issues—impaired vision, hearing loss, communication, digestion, and mobility—40% of seniors reported having mobility problems. 

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Mobility Issues in Seniors

Mobility refers to the ability to move freely. However, the movement should be effortless without any aches and pains in the joints or limbs. If there is a slight discomfort or impairment in movement, it is considered a mobility issue.

Seniors with mobility issues, whether mild or severe, are prone to falls. According to the CDC, falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults in the USA. Due to lack of mobility, one in four older adults falls each year, leading to injuries that can be very serious and also fatal. Out of the 36 million older adults that fall each year in the US, 32,000 succumb to their injuries.    

Consequences of Falls 

  • Broken bones – wrist, arm, leg, ankle, and hip fractures
  • Head injury
  • Falling again
  • Death

Falls also have psychological repercussions. Seniors who fall may become afraid of falling again and will do everything to avoid that happening. This anxiety can cause them to reduce their mobility in order to “stay safe,” further hampering their ability in the long run. 

Improve or maintain mobility

For independent older adults, reducing mobility does not eliminate the risk of falling completely. But, while age-related changes are out of our control, for the most part, falling is not. One can do plenty to prevent falls and ensure senior safety in and around the house. The most important thing to look at is improving or maintaining mobility as you age by staying active and ensuring you get the right amount of exercise to keep your bones and joints healthy.

What causes mobility issues in the elderly? 

Several factors affect a senior’s mobility. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Age-related loss of muscle and bone density
  • Arthritis
  • Poor eye-hand-leg coordination
  • Medication
  • Vitamin deficiencies 
  • Obesity 
  • Joint pain and rigidity
  • General inactivity 

How can seniors overcome mobility issues in their old age?

Staying Active to Manage Mobility Issues

Mobility issues are easy to manage, provided one has the proper guidance, equipment, and other mobility devices for seniors. Here are some tips on how seniors can manage mobility issues as they age:

  • Staying Active
  • The first and most advised solution is to remain active as you age. Keeping your bones and muscles in good shape is your best bet to maintain mobility. Doing simple, fun, low-impact exercises at home can improve your balance, coordination, and stability. Yoga exercises, such as chair yoga, is an excellent option for a low-impact exercise to do at home. Engaging in exercises also helps keep yorr weight in check.

  • Home Modifications
  • Certain mobility problems need additional solutions to exercising. The next best option is to make modifications in your home and equip yourself with tools and mobility devices for seniors to help prevent falls and injuries around the house. Start by gauging the possible hazard areas in your home. You can use a home safety checklist as a guide. Further, installing grab bars, bed step stool, tub step stool, and other elderly mobility aids can help you move safely and independently. 

  • Regular Vision Testing
  • Vision impairment affects your mobility, as mobility is largely related to eye-hand and eye-leg coordination. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you are regularly testing your vision and using corrective lenses to achieve the best possible visi

  • Monitor Medication 
  • Certain medications can cause dizziness, numbness, and other side effects that also affect mobility. It is important to talk to your doctor to better understand the side effects (if any) of all medications that you take. If any medication affects your mobility, discuss safer alternatives with your doctor.

  • Mobility Devices 
  • For seniors with mobility issues, simple activities like getting in and out of bed, bathing, climbing stairs, and even walking can be challenging. For some, these activities can also be a safety hazard. However, available mobility devices for seniors can facilitate safe movement around the house. For example, using step stools to aid with getting in and out of bed or the bathtub will go a long way in preventing falls at home. Additionally, you can choose a step stool with handles for better stability and support.

    Knowledge and technology have empowered us to overcome diseases and health issues that we never imagined we could. The same applies to mobility in older adults. All you need is the right support, and you can lead a safer life, free of fear and anxiety.



    How can you help the elderly with mobility issues?

    Mobility is important for the elderly to age safely. For seniors already suffering from mobility issues, the best way to help is to provide tools and equipment to make moving around easier and safer. For example, step stools, grab bars, motion sensor lights, etc., can facilitate safe movement around the house.

    What are some mobility issues?

    Some mobility issues include:

    • Pain in joints, muscles, and bones
    • Limping
    • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
    • Difficulty getting in and out of bed
    • Difficulty getting in and out of the bathtub
    • Unsteady gait
    • Muscle tightness and spasms

    How do you help someone with mobility problems?

    For improving mobility in the elderly, safe and easy exercises can keep mobility issues at bay and also prevent present mobility issues from getting worse. One can use senior mobility devices to ease their movement and give them independence. 

    What are the three major causes of impaired mobility in older adults?

    The three major causes of impaired mobility in older adults are:

    1. Obesity
    2. Medical conditions like arthritis and diabetes
    3. Impaired muscle strength and balance

    How many elderly citizens have mobility issues?

    According to the 2020 profile of older Americans, 19% of the population aged 65 and above reported having some functional issues. In addition, nearly half of those older adults - 40% to be exact, reported having issues with mobility.

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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