Even though research show that mobility is the most common disability facing older adults, it is an issue that is normally overlooked. In this blog post, originally published by SandGenLife, we’ve written about how we should change this behavior and how to open up for the discussion. 

Help Aging Family Members by Discussing Mobility Issues

The holiday season draws families, friends and neighbors together to spend quality time with one another. For many, this holiday season may be the first time they notice a change in a loved one’s health, including their personal mobility. It may be difficult to talk to aging family members about certain issues, mobility is an important one.

According to The U.S. Census Bureau, mobility is the most common disability facing older adults. Yet despite its prevalence, mobility is often the most overlooked. That’s often because people don’t know the signs to look for.

At your family gathering, is a family member remaining in one spot regardless of where the socializing occurs? Are they appearing uneasy while walking down the stairs? Balance, pace and pain when walking are all indicators a family member is struggling with their mobility. While these are the more physical indicators, it’s also important to recognize the more subtle signs, like changes in lifestyle and activity levels. Knowing how to identify mobility limitations can open the door for a respectful conversation this holiday season.

Once an issue has been recognized, it’s time to host a respectful, collaborative dialogue. Mobility loss can lead to other health ailments, like obesity, hypertension – and even chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. This conversation can’t be delayed.

The first step is to respectfully listen and acknowledge their struggle with mobility. Initiating the conversation from a place of love and respect will create a productive discussion that can open the door for solutions. Once the issue has been raised, it may be time to visit a health care provider to rule out any underlying health issues; and explore your options.

For millions of Americans, that solution is a mobility aid, like a walker or rollator. There are many models on the market, so knowing what to look for can help your loved one find an option that reflects their lifestyle.

When shopping, consider what your family member enjoys. Do they like walking to their favorite store, or are they an avid gardener? A mobility aid with an attachment to hold items and a seat to rest would be an excellent solution. Do they like to travel to see friends or family? Then a walker that is lightweight and compact will complement their lifestyle. Weight may also be an important factor if your loved one has an older spouse or a relative in a caregiver role. Other factors to consider include accessory options, and opportunities for personalization.

Look to designs that your loved one can feel good about – the market is not as static as it once was. A mobility aid, something so essential to daily life, should be a point of pride and personal style. That was our approach to designing the Carbon Ultralight. We set out to challenge the category by converting a product that had traditionally denoted feelings of dependence and fragility into a point of pride.

Pride can be found in the little, less flashy details too. For example, we re-engineered the handles on the Carbon Ultralight so it enables users to stand taller and greet their surroundings with a stronger presence. This design brings the device closer to the user’s core and it improves their posture. There is a psychological connection between proper posture and confidence.

To us, mindful design is at its best when aesthetic and functionality can work in harmony. Look to companies and designs that are respectful of the consumer; and the lifestyle they want to lead.

This Thanksgiving, if you find yourself worrying about a loved one’s mobility, the best ways to help are by recognizing physical changes, spearheading a loving dialogue and seeking the right solutions. And remember, you aren’t alone in facing this.

Source: SandGenLife – Help aging family members by discussing mobility issues – 22 November 2019