As our loved ones grow old, it is no secret that their bodies slowly become frail. While physical signs of ageing reveal themselves, like the wrinkling of the skin and the greying of the hair, you may also notice their mobility becoming more restricted, in part due to the change in bone density as they age and their muscles losing strength.
These factors lead to mobility challenges and are no stranger to old age. Fulfilling daily routines and errands at hand can be challenging for our loved ones with mobility challenges. However, limited mobility does not equate to an unfulfilling life - a little moral support and physical assistance go a long way in achieving the latter. Here are some of the ways on how to support your loved one with mobility challenges.
Stay at their pace
Elderlies with mobility challenges move slower than the average healthy person, or they generally have a hard time moving around, possibly due to their personal mobility aids (PMAs). Instead of rushing them, offer acts of service such as holding your hand out for extra support while they walk with their mobility aids or helping them in and out of their electric wheelchair.
Simple acts like these reflect your commitment to help them patiently and show you are on pace with them. Not only does this reassure them that they are doing just fine and are not troubling anyone, but they will also feel comforted.
Treat them with respect
Everyone should and must be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their disability or illness. Like the abled, persons with mobility challenges have the right to autonomy and the ability to exercise their voice as much as they can.
For instance, if your loved one with mobility issues would like to be more independent, instead of questioning the motivation behind this or any of the choices they make, support their decision as best as you can, so long as it is within their best interest and safety. Above all, separate the disability or illness from the person, and over time you will be able to see them as an equal.
Take them out regularly
Most seniors with mobility issues prefer staying in; they may find it challenging to navigate through crowds, wearing out reasonably quickly, especially without assistance in a hectic and crowded environment. However, do not be mistaken! This does not eliminate their desire to be outdoors and to socialise. Reassure them that there are activities suited to their pace and comfort. Share with them some fun and recreational activities they can try, and in no time will they find that staying out is not too bad after all.
Furthermore, being outdoors greatly benefits their emotional health and wellbeing. It encourages social engagement with others or to just freely bask in the fresh air and sunlight. As their caregiver, do not forget to check the wheelchair accessibility of the recreational places beforehand.
Be empathetic and in tune with your loved ones' needs and wants and explore the various ways on how you can best support them. Though elderlies with mobility challenges generally all have similar needs, they are all unique individuals in their rights and have different desires. Do not hesitate to talk to your loved ones openly about the suitable measures of support and care while respecting their personal space and time.