The key role mobility plays in the health of seniors – Global News Calgary

 

Jodi Hughes:

As we age, mobility can seem at odds with our desire to stay active, but it is important to understand a challenge does not need to become a barrier. MP Fortin is an aging-in-place specialist with Ohana Care Health Services, and she joins me now. Good morning, MP. Thank you for being with us.

MP Fortin:

Good morning.

Jodi Hughes:

How common is it for seniors to have some kind of a mobility challenge?

MP Fortin:

It’s quite common, depending on their stages. Sometimes after [00:00:30] a fall or an injury or surgery they may have some challenges in regards to mobility that are temporary, as other older adults may need assistive devices throughout their older days just because of the progressiveness of their diseases.

Jodi Hughes:

And I wanted to get into that, assisted devices. What options do they have to overcome what they’re facing, and when do you know when you need to [00:01:00] explore some of those options?

MP Fortin:

The options vary wildly. It can go from walking sticks to an actual cane. There are also walkers and scooters. There are a lot of different devices. When to reach out for help is when you have either a new diagnosis that you know will restrain your mobility in the future, or also if you have near misses. If you either fell or [00:01:30] felt like you were falling, or even if you get dizzy when you get up and you don’t have your balance quite as well as you did before, that’s when you should be reaching out to your doctor or a healthcare professional who can then guide you for the best mobility device for your condition.

Jodi Hughes:

And how do you know what is the right mobility assistive device for you? For example, do you want to go as far as walker if maybe you don’t need it because would it [00:02:00] increase how quickly you start to lose some of that core strength?

MP Fortin:

You should always talk to a medical professional. There are occupational therapists. There are people who really specialize within those mobility assistive devices. And it’s always what makes you feel the safest and what does not increase any of your pain. Let’s say you’re using a cane and it increases the [00:02:30] pressure on your wrist, and then you start having wrist issues, then obviously the cane is not going to be your best mobility device. You may want to invest in a walker where you would have both hands holding onto the walker. And there are some walkers that are raised so that you don’t need to have any pressure on your wrists. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor and to talk to an occupational therapist to figure out the best mobility device for you.

Jodi Hughes:

And I think that’s so key, is having that confidence and that security, [00:03:00] which leads me to my next question of why is it important that seniors address these things and not just slow down or give up on activities?

MP Fortin:

Well, as they say, use it or lose it. If you want to keep your mobility, if you want to keep your legs straight, if you want to keep your independence for longer you will want to be moving around. If you are hesitant in leaving your home because you don’t feel like you have a good gait or you think that you will be falling, that’s also [00:03:30] a great indicator that you do need this mobility device. You want to make sure that you can still keep up with your activities and that you’re not sitting all day, because if you don’t have the confidence to get up then you’re going to end up sitting and that will lead to muscle atrophy. It will lead to increased pain, and then increased of falling as well, because then you’re not going to be practicing your balance as well as you did before. So, mobility devices equals [00:04:00] independence.

Jodi Hughes:

Is there a wait time to get ahold of some of these items.

MP Fortin:

There is a wait time. It really depends. Mostly, seniors will be waiting for funding. If you feel like you’re getting a little weaker you should start getting that funding in place and really doing your research, because there are different price ranges as well. And then depending on the mobility device, it will be personalized to you, so you [00:04:30] will need to get your measurements and then wait for the device to be delivered to you.

Jodi Hughes:

Great information. MP, thank you so much for your time today. To learn more, head to ohanacare.ca.

MP Fortin:

Thank you.

 

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