Loss of mobility is a common occurrence among aging adults. Some of the first signs of aging often relate to diminished posture and gait. In time, fatigue and general weakness may develop when trying to perform everyday tasks, such as the 6 activities of daily living. Aging also affects other components, such as muscle mass, bone density, and joint flexibility. If your loved one is experiencing signs of declining mobility, it may be time to think about in-home care. Learn how to properly assess a person’s level of mobility and where to find assistance.
Signs of Declining Mobility
How can you tell if your aging loved one is ready to accept in-home care? Look for common signs of declining mobility. If your loved one has trouble with one or more of the following forms of mobility, it may be time to introduce the person to in-home care services.
- Use of a walking aid. If your loved one has to use a cane, walker, wheelchair, or other walking aid, then mobility has already begun to diminish.
- Difficulty getting in or out of bed. Aging can make it difficult to get in and out of bed or chairs. Your loved one may also have trouble getting on and off the toilet. This can be due to back pain, mobility issues, or weakness in the legs or core.
- Trouble walking up or down stairs. Difficulty climbing up or down stairs is often associated with arthritis, hypertension, and various other ailments. Your loved one may also suffer from poor balance or strength, resulting in a higher risk of falls.
- Problems with dressing. With old age, it becomes harder to perform simple tasks such as dressing yourself. A limited range of mobility can make it difficult to bend down to put on underwear, pants, and socks. Your loved one may also experience pain when lifting their arms to put on shirts and coats.
- Poor grooming habits. Discomfort and mobility issues can result in poor grooming habits in the elderly. Your loved one may stop washing, combing her hair, or cutting his finger and toe nails.
- Lack of washing and bathing. If your loved one has a distinct odor or is visibly dirty, it may be due to trouble washing or bathing. Many seniors need assistance with cleaning themselves due to the inability to stand long periods of time in the shower or seat themselves in the bath.
- Challenges with transportation. Whether it is to the doctor’s office or the nearby supermarket, transportation can be difficult when mobility is limited. You may notice that your loved one has trouble getting in or out of the vehicle, and may not be able to stand long periods of time in public.
6 Activities of Daily Living
There are 6 activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, continence, and feeding. By assessing how seniors respond to these 6 activities of daily living, you can better determine the level of in-home care that your loved one needs to thrive. If a senior is able to perform all 6 activities of daily living without help, they are considered to have “full function.” If a senior is unable to perform one or more activities, they are considered to have mild, moderate, or severe impairment. However, while ADLs are useful for assessing independence, you should still use your own judgment.
Being able to perform ADLs is directly associated with independent living. Physicians and adult care workers often use the 6 activities of daily living to determine if a person requires assisted living or should be placed in a nursing home for more extensive care. As each of these activities affect a person’s ability to care for themselves, complete housework, prepare meals, shop, drive, or use public transportation, it is crucial that any help required is provided before mobility is too far diminished.
Those who require assistance with the 6 activities of daily living can opt for in-home care services. With in-home care, a person is able to reside at home where they are most comfortable. Home-health workers can then provide in-home help for ADLs to ensure that your loved one remains happy and healthy. Home health aides can assist with all aspects of care, including meal preparation, light cleaning, exercise, laundry, shopping, and transportation. In-home care services are provided in a customized nature. After an evaluation, a personal care plan is tailored to your loved one’s needs.
In-Home Care Services
Most families find that in-home care offers the best opportunity for your loved one to remain in the comfort of their own home while also receiving the professional care they need to maintain optimal health. On a typical day with in-home care, your loved one would receive assistance getting out of bed, getting bathed and dressed, and using the restroom. A caregiver will then help prepare healthy meals and provide assistance with eating if necessary. In-home care aides can also help your loved one get the exercise he or she needs, which may consist of brisk walks or therapeutic physical activities. Of course, caregivers also provide psychosocial benefits, including caring interactions and the formation of a friendship.
When deciding whether or not your loved one requires professional in-home care, ask yourself a few important questions. Is a caregiver or members of the family unable to provide the level of assistance needed by the senior? Does the senior need help completing activities of daily living and if so, how much help is needed? Also, consider what specific benefits an in-home care agency could provide to the senior and family. Primary caregivers are not always able to provide the level of care that a person needs in both the physical and social sense. In-home care aides can.
In-home care professionals have the skill and knowledge needed to greatly increase the quality of life of aging adults by helping them remain as self-sufficient as possible. For more information about the 6 activities of daily living or in-home care services, contact an in-home care agency today.