Mobility, as you probably already know, refers to a person’s ability to move independently from one place to another. It includes walking and moving, changing and maintaining body position, carrying, moving and handling objects as well as moving around using walking aids, wheelchair or other pieces of equipment.
But when these commonplace movements become a struggle, day to day life becomes a struggle too, and this can be a big stressor for an elderly person. Not being able to quickly or easily move or change position is frustrating, adding to the stress that a patient feels.
Looking after Body AND mind
We often think of stress as an emotional response to a set of circumstances. But it can also manifest itself physically too.
For someone able to move around freely and without help, when stress starts to build, a walk or run in the fresh air can make all the difference to their well-being. For someone with mobility issues, exercise can be difficult to achieve and thus, the endorphins (the feel-good hormones) they need to feel better are hard to come by.
Essentially combatting stress with reduced mobility is about adapting routines, especially when it comes to exercising the body and calming the mind.
So, as a carer, how can you help a patient with reduced mobility to deal with stress – and where can you get help if you’re struggling to find a solution?
1 Encourage them to talk
Naming their feelings, understanding where they are coming from help to talk through the problem and place it in context. It also means that you can search for solutions or looking at different ways of doing things.
2 Try something new
The No Place Like Home report highlights that for many people, seeking the care they need within the comforts of the walls of their home is how they want to live their life. It makes sense to be surrounded by familiar things, a place where you feel safe.
But lack of mobility can soon turn the home into a fortress. Being stuck inside is not healthy in many ways and when it comes to managing stress, it presents a significant barrier. Trying something new is another means of encouraging a patient to live their life.
3 Adapt exercise routines
Small changes have a big impact on a patient, especially when it comes to exercise. Being active helps to slow the decline of mobility but it needs to be in balance. And so, if one form of exercise is no longer an option, look to adapt and modify how they exercise.
Being active is a great stressbuster, and so every patient should be encouraged to enjoy regular activity.
Maintaining links with friends and social gatherings are also important for managing stress and feeling part of the world around them. Mobility issues affect patients in many different ways, including emotionally. Stress is an emotional response and one that can be difficult to deal with. If you’re looking for further assistance, why not take a look within forums for the live in carer about how carers can help patients deal with stress.