Exercise is vital for improving mobility in older age so aim to keep moving in later life

Exercise is vital for improving mobility in older age

As we age our bodies inevitably begin to show signs of wear and tear, muscle loss and joint stiffness cause us to slow down and the older we get, the more aware we become of our limitations. But it is never too late to make improvements to our health and mobility for a better quality of life.  

We live in a society that is increasingly obsessed with finding new ways to slow down the ageing process, but one of the simplest and most effective methods for improving our life expectancy and quality of life as we get older is available to us free of charge: Exercise!

Exercise has benefits for everyone, whatever your level of fitness or mobility, and staying active is vital for healthy ageing. Anything that gets you moving can help in improving mobility in older age.

From light housework to daily walks, stretching and moving our bodies on a regular basis has significant benefits for both our physical health and mental wellbeing. The NHS recommends that adults over the age of 65 should aim to be physically active every day with at least some form of light activity which might include making the bed, getting up to make a cup of tea, walking at a slow pace in the garden or around your home and light housework such as vacuuming or dusting. Even people with reduced mobility can introduce sedentary chair-based exercise to increase flexibility and strength, balance and coordination.

Improving your mobility in older age undoubtedly has a significant impact on how independent you can expect to be in later life and the more mobile you are, the less chance you have of suffering from a fall. The National Institute for Ageing suggests that more than one in three people over the age of 65 will suffer a fall each year which leads many older adults to lose confidence and be less likely to take part in social activities. The older you get the higher the risk of falling becomes, particularly for people with long term health conditions. Having a fall carries the significant risk of hip fracture which for many people is a life-changing injury. 500 older people are admitted into hospital every day with fall-related injuries which can be very difficult to overcome, of these 33 people never make it home.

Fall prevention tips:

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help prevent a fall:

  • 1. Stay active

Strengthening your body with regular exercise will improve your flexibility, balance and coordination giving you more confidence so you can continue to live an active life, it may also help reduce pain from joint stiffness.

  • 2. Review your medication

Speak to your GP in case you are taking any medications which may cause tiredness or dizziness or other side effects which could contribute to your chances of falling.

  • 3. Arrange an occupational health review

Your GP can arrange for you to receive an occupational health assessment to review whether modifications can be put in place in your home to help improve your day to day tasks such as personal care, shopping and cooking and moving in the home.

  • 4. Remove potential trip hazards at home

Replace or repair anything that presents a potential risk of falling such as damaged or uneven flooring including stairs, tiles, carpet and rugs.

  • 5. Have your eyes and ears tested

Ensuring your vision and balance are not affecting your chances of a fall.

Some of the key risks associated with falling are naturally expected to present challenges to most people face as they reach later life and in particular those with long term health conditions. For many families, conversations around the need for care services are often triggered when a loved one has suffered a fall, bringing to light the struggles they may be experiencing with everyday tasks or to provide care for a period of time while they recuperate. Having a live-in carer can help enormously in these circumstances.

Live-in care services are widely considered to be the best care option with better outcomes for overall health, independence and happiness. Having the one-to-one support of a live-in carer has clear benefits and brings great relief to the whole family at an emotionally distressing time.

Christies Care offers CQC rated ‘Outstanding’ care – only 4% of all care organisations achieve this standard – and our professionally-trained, trusted carers are experts in helping people adapt and regain their confidence in their own home rather than facing the upheaval of moving into a care home permanently or for a period of respite care. Your carer comes to live with you, ensuring minimal disruption for everyone, and allowing the person being cared to return directly to the place they are happiest, to recover in familiar surroundings.

Research by the Live-in Care hub has found that people living in care homes are almost twice as likely to suffer from a fall than those who receive care at home. Having one to one support means having the sole focus of a carer, who only has one person to look after and can spend time and energy helping your loved one rehabilitate after a fall and assisting them with everyday tasks they might otherwise find challenging such as personal care and household tasks, food preparation and shopping.

Christies Carers use the Care to Move training programme which promotes mobility and independence by encouraging regular movement and empowering people to make decisions to move as part of everyday living. Having personalised care support from a Christies Carer helps you achieve your goals more quickly, whether it’s being able to wash independently, make a cup of tea for yourself or a walk to your local shop, your carer will work with you to help you get to where you want to be.

Our carers also work with other healthcare teams to support rehabilitation programmes, including physical therapists, district nurses and hospital discharge teams to help provide continuity, reassurance and peace of mind for families.

Many people are unaware that live-in care is an affordable alternative to a care home and with improved benefits for health, it offers much better value too. We offer immediate starts for emergency care needs and to support hospital discharge. Speak to a member of our team to discuss your needs or book a consultation today to receive ‘outstanding’ care for your loved one.

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