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What Causes Mobility Loss in the Elderly?



It can be difficult for seniors to remain independent when they have limited mobility. Any health condition or injury that prevents them from making meals or getting out of the house could have a negative impact on their overall quality of life. This is why seniors and caregivers must work together to prevent some of the leading causes of mobility loss.

Acute Injuries


Falls are common among older adults, and they often result in serious injuries that limit their mobility. Some of the most common fall-related injuries include broken femurs, broken hips, head trauma, and dislocations. Most of these injuries take place within the home, and caregivers should spend some time making dangerous areas such as stairways and bathrooms as safe as possible.


Osteoporosis


This medical condition can be caused by a variety of internal and external factors, including dietary habits, genetics, and level of fitness. While nothing can be done about genetics, seniors should make changes to their daily habits if they want to prevent this disease. These changes include consuming plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and protein to keep their bones strong. Low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike and swimming can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related injuries.


Cognitive Disorders


Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and dementia can distort an individual’s senses and impact his or her balance. Many of these disorders can’t be cured, but seniors are often able to minimize the symptoms by staying at a healthy weight, exercising, socializing as often as possible, and keeping themselves mentally stimulated. Caregivers should contact a doctor immediately if they notice any unusual issues with their loved one’s memory or emotional stability.

Arthritis


Arthritis is a collection of over 100 different conditions that damage the joints. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, osteoarthritis is currently the leading cause of mobility loss among the elderly. Strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the joints can increase a senior’s mobility and lower the risk of a fall-related injury. Many arthritis specialists also suggest carrying out flexibility exercises to elongate the soft tissue and increase elasticity.

Diabetic Neuropathy


The CDC claims around 44 percent of seniors can’t stoop, bend, or kneel because of diabetes. When left untreated, diabetes can kill off nerve cells and negatively impact motor function. Like many of these other health conditions, the most effective way to prevent diabetes is to stay at a healthy weight. Seniors who have a family history of diabetes should be tested for this condition once every year so it can be caught in its earliest stages. Prescription medications and lifestyle changes can both be used to lessen the symptoms of diabetes and prevent permanent nerve damage.

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