As a person ages, they can often have trouble with mobility. Common mobility problems include difficulty getting up from a chair or sitting down, unsteadiness while walking, and experiencing falls. It's unsteadiness and dizziness upon standing that are some of the most common causes of falls among the elderly population.
Falls are particularly threatening to elderly people because older bones are more brittle, causing them to break far more easily and heal more slowly than younger bones. If the fall is terrible enough, major injury or death may result.
Even if an elderly person doesn't suffer from serious injury when having fallen, they can experience difficulty attempting to return to a standing position. A caregiver can help the elderly patient or loved one by instructing them to crawl to a chair that is solid enough for them to use as a support to stand. The person should then place their hands onto the seat of the chair and use it to pull themselves up by bringing one foot into a kneeling position and then pulling the rest of their body into the chair.
Another way is to instruct the patient or loved one to roll to one side if they have fallen onto their back in order to get them into a position of all-fours. From there, should the person request assistance, a caregiver can help to lift them with their arms. However, it's crucial when helping lift a patient or loved one that a caregiver uses the muscles in their legs -- "lifting with the knees" -- not their back in order to keep from suffering a spinal injury.
If a fall doesn't result in serious injury, it can often result in a fear of the fall occurring again. This can lead to further health problems caused by immobility including blood clots, ulcers, and pneumonia. Therefore, as a caregiver, it's important not only to ensure that an elderly loved one or patient is able to achieve steadiness when walking as a means of preventing falls, but also that they are walking if they have the ability to do so.
There are many tools for mobility assistance available depending on an elderly person's walking ability. Wooden canes, particularly decorative walking canes, can give an elderly person a sense of independence while simultaneously allowing them to be individuals. It's easy to see a walking stick as simply a tool for mobility, but decorative walking canes can add a little needed personality. A horse head cane, for instance, is as unique to the person using it as a blackthorn walking stick is to another.
Mobility issues are common symptoms of aging. But with decorative walking canes, your elderly loved one doesn't have to feel unsteady or obsolete. Encourage routine movement and exercise with the assistance of a cane, walking stick, or walker to keep your loved one strong and steady.