It’s no secret that modern medicine has allowed the elderly population to live longer, healthier lives. However, there are still senior citizens going into nursing homes every year.
Nursing homes provide personal and medical care for the elderly when they or their caretakers can no longer adequately provide these services themselves.
Senior Mobility And Nursing Homes
Many people can feel a sense of regret when placing a loved one in a nursing home, due to the fact that nursing homes have been negatively associated with elder abuse and a depressing quality of life. But caring for an aging loved one can be hard on a family member.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of senior citizens having accidents while in assisted care. Nursing home falls are the most common accidents among elders. With decreased mobility, these falls can cause serious injuries and even death to these senior citizens. It’s accidents like these, due to negligence of a nursing home, that lead to litigation.
Improving mobility won’t prevent all senior falls, but it can greatly reduce the possibility and recurrence. Here are some things that everyone— not just the aging population— can do to help improve mobility:
1. Chair Squats
Using a chair, you would go into the act of sitting in the chair. Instead of sitting all the way down, slightly touch the seat of the chair as you’re sitting, and then stand back up again. This exercise helps with joint mobility in the legs.
This mainly focuses on the lower body. Stretching your legs (specifically your calves and hamstrings) is crucial for lower body mobility.
The easiest way to stretch these muscles is to go into a pike. This is done by sitting on a flat surface and reaching your hands towards your toes, flexing the feet. You don’t have to be able to touch your toes; just the act of leaning forward stretches your hamstrings and calves.
Yoga is an ancient Indian technique that combines stretching and less strenuous muscle-building techniques.
“Child’s pose” is probably the most simple pose almost everyone can do. All you need to do is start by sitting on your knees. You can keep your knees together or spread them out wide, then reach your arms forward. The front of your body does not have to be touching the ground. Child’s pose takes less strength than the ever-famous downward-facing dog pose, although that is a great pose as well.
These are great mobility techniques for seniors. In many nursing homes, these are done as part of activities programs and are led by the activities director or other facility professionals. This keeps seniors not only mobile but mentally stimulated as well.
4. Eating Healthy
An honorable mention here is healthy eating. Virtually every doctor will tell you that living an active lifestyle along with healthy eating habits can help reduce your risk of future health problems. Superfoods like cinnamon and turmeric have been studied to see if there is any benefit to potentially reduce or help joint pain. Turmeric, a spice that has been medicinally used in India for centuries, is known to reduce inflammation, which is known to cause joint pain.
Some seniors have no problem adopting eating a healthier diet, especially when many nursing home facilities have to adhere to such regulations. Depending on the condition of nursing home residents, they may have special diets, like low-sugar, as well as texture requirements for swallowing abilities, like puree diets. Nonetheless, eating a well-balanced diet will allow them to feel full and not weighed down by foods high in trans fats, which, in turn, will allow for better mobility.
Preserving our mobility is imperative as we age. Optimal joint and muscle function, along with improved flexibility and consuming a well-balanced diet all play a significant role in living a more active life.