Mobility issues are quite common all over the globe. Even though elderly people are seen to be the most common victims, even younger people can suffer from mobility impairments.
Diseases like Parkinson’s or amputation can greatly affect someone’s daily activities. In the US, about 11.1% of adults experience difficulty in walking or doing basic things.
If one of your loved ones also suffers from mobility impairment, here are some ways to support them.
1. Talk to them
The first and most important thing you must remember is to ensure you’re not suffocating the person with your eagerness to help them. And one way to ensure that is to ask them what they need help with.
For example, if someone in your family has difficulty in their legs, but the rest of their body works fine, you don’t need to help them with everything.
Instead, ask them questions like, “Would you like me to do this for you?” or “Do you need some help with this?”
Your aim should be to support them without making them feel helpless.
2. Buy them a disability phone
People with mobility impairments are often unable to use a regular phone. To promote inclusivity, many tech brands in the world are now focusing on disability phones that are meant to cater to people with physical problems.
Disability phones can be especially useful for people suffering from multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, ALS, and other neuromuscular disorders.
These phones are hands-free; the person, who cannot use their hands, can use the phone using a special switch mechanism. They also have voice-activated commands like Alexa and Google Assistant.
3. Consider home changes
Even though this might be slightly expensive, home modifications can greatly help people suffering from physical disabilities.
First, assess the kind of impairments that your loved one is going through and then see what kind of changes will benefit them.
But remember not to feel overwhelmed; many modifications are very easy and affordable, so start with the simpler ones first.
For example, if the family member has difficulty walking, you can install a ramp next to the staircase. Or if they can walk but often lose their balance, install a banister.
4. Help them to exercise
If the person with physical impairments can move around even a little, then helping them exercise can greatly improve their mobility.
Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for people who don’t get to move around a lot.
You don’t have to start with anything too complicated. Something as simple as a morning or an afternoon walk can be beneficial.
Otherwise, you can consult a physiotherapist or your local healthcare provider for more tips. They will prepare a special exercise regimen for the patient to help them stay active.
5. Pay attention to their diet
Along with exercise, diet is important in keeping your loved one healthy. However, improper diet can not only cause gastrointestinal problems but can also worsen the patient’s situation.
For example, if the patient has a mobility issue caused due to bone density deficiency, then make sure that their diet is rich in vitamin D.
Give them food items like milk and yogurt. Or you can also give them vitamin D supplements but speak with your doctor first.
Some other items that can cause comfort in mobility-impaired patients are protein-rich food like eggs, meat, and fish.
6. Focus on yourself
When you’re constantly taking care of a patient, it can be easy to put their needs before your own, to the point where everything takes a toll on your mental and emotional health.
However, while caring for the patient, you should also consider your health. If you’re not physically or mentally healthy, you won’t be able to cater to the patient’s needs.
You might initially feel overwhelmed and confused, especially if the patient is severely disabled. But give yourself time to adjust and be kind to yourself.
Over to you…
Supporting someone with mobility issues isn’t easy because many different factors are involved. But with enough time and patience, you can get used to this different lifestyle.