Many seniors experience a loss of mobility, which prevents them from enjoying an active lifestyle.
Perhaps your aging parent or neighbour is slowly recovering from surgery, a fall or an illness. Or perhaps they have experienced muscle loss and a reduction in bone density due to a sedentary lifestyle.
No matter why they have trouble walking, it doesn’t have to stay this way. If you have been wondering how to get an elderly person walking again, these six tips are for you.
1. Encourage them to move at least a bit each day
Of course, you can’t get an elderly person walking again if they are not ready to make any effort. But if they want to walk again, one of the most important things you can do for them is encourage them to get more active.
Even if they move a little bit each day, it should be enough to prevent atrophy and build their muscles.
So if they spend a lot of time sitting in their favourite chair in front of the TV, encourage them to get up and move. You could go for a short walk with them whenever you can or ask them if they would like to join a senior group so they can walk and socialize with other seniors.
2. Help them find the right walking aid
If your elderly parent cannot walk unassisted, help them find the right walking aid. Walkers and canes can help the elderly walk again and give them the confidence to enjoy a more active lifestyle.
However, you must ensure they get the right walking aid. Remember that they cannot build muscles and improve their balance if they rely too much on their walking aid.
So, if they need a walker, ensure they get one. But they should use it if they can get up and walk just fine with a cane.
3. Make sure they can get in and out of bed
If your elderly parent has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, they can’t be blamed for having a sedentary lifestyle.
Replacing their bed with an adjustable bed will make it easier for them to get in and out of bed, making them more likely to spend their day moving around their home and getting active.
And if they have trouble getting out of their chair, you can ensure they get a power lift adjustable chair. With just a touch of a button, their new favourite chair will help them get up on their feet.
4. Help them gently work on improving their balance
To prevent slip and fall accidents, your elderly parent must improve their balance. They can achieve proper balance and feel more steady on their feet by engaging their core muscles, back, buttocks, and hips.
For example, their balance can be improved through gentle exercises, such as standing on one leg.
Instruct them to stand next to a wall or a steady chair so they can brace themselves if necessary. They should then try to stand on one leg for a few seconds and then on their other leg.
Ask them to do this exercise daily and spend more time standing on each leg as it becomes easier.
5. Encourage them to work on building muscles
Even if seniors have experienced muscle loss, they can still gain muscle if they regularly commit to doing gentle strength training exercises.
They can find plenty of light-intensity exercises for seniors online and do them in their homes. But if they are serious about building muscles to walk confidently again, they might want to consider working with a physical therapist.
Alternatively, a personal trainer specializing in senior strength training could help them regain strength and vitality.
What matters is that they take it slowly, one step at a time.
6. Make sure they can eat a healthy diet
An overweight senior might be more likely to get sick and feel knee pain. To help overweight seniors walk again, ensuring they can eat a healthy diet is important.
Combining gentle exercises with a healthy diet, they can lose weight and improve their overall health.
Once they have a healthy weight and can improve their balance and build muscles, it will get easier for them to walk again. It might take some time before they reach their goal, so it’s up to you to remind them not to give up on their journey to regaining mobility.