Turn Your Attention To Mobility

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How older adults can move around is more important than you probably imagine.


It’s easy to understand that all of us humans around here would, of course, want the ability to walk around the block, get ourselves some lunch, and spend some time with loved ones in a social setting.

But just how important is that?


Do we, as a society, take for granted exactly what quality of life affects?

It’s not just a measure of pleasure for the individual.

Quality of life affects economic and social aspects of the larger community, the healthcare sector, staff, and other personnel support.


The Consequences: What Immobility Looks Like

When a senior loses mobility, something so very common in our older adult population, many elements of their life start to spiral downward.

A cascade of consequences each begins to tip into the other, socially, psychologically, and physically.


1, When a person can’t get up and around, they begin to lose things.

They lose precious time spent with friends.

They lose opportunities to interact with the outside world.

They begin to lose their confidence and self-esteem.


2, What they begin to build instead incurs high costs.

They begin to build dependence on structures like ramps, railings, and equipment.

They begin to need tools like walkers and canes.

They begin to require more and more assistance from others to get to the everyday places they want to go, like up out of a chair and to the refrigerator.

Lastly, they begin to depend on people to take care of them for basic needs like brushing hair and bathing.


3, These unfortunate changes can easily spiral into reclusive behavior, unintentional introversion, being stuck at home or in a room, or a bed.

Without regular movement, interaction, and even a basic level of independence, depression sets in.


4, With this sedentary physicality, often comes medical issues.

Bone and hip fractures from falling can become a serious issue very quickly.

A person may begin to suffer incontinence just because the person can’t get up and to the bathroom.

Subsequently, they’re more likely to get urinary tract infections, irritated skin, and infections.


5, Current Geriatric Reports, which review all current research, reports that the greater the loss of mobility, the more the morbidity and mortality go up.


As administrators, it’s critical to review your procedures and protocols around mobility support and maintenance for your community members.

It’s critical for budgets, staff hours, personnel training, and, lest we forget, the simple enjoyment of life by the residents.


Back in 2013, the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed the studies of the past many years around mobility studies.

They found the main factors related to immobility. Many are fairly obvious. Sadly, many are also very common.

  1. Aging
  2. Low physical activity
  3. Obesity
  4. Impaired strength and balance
  5. Chronic diseases: (Diabetes, Arthritis)
  6. Depression

Given the gravity of these common red flags, it would be easy to assume regular checkups by physicians would lead to education and support of seniors to avoid these negative outcomes.

Unfortunately, because pulmonary and cardiac conditions take the main stage in screenings, mobility often gets pushed so far back, it’s often completely ignored in doctor visits.


The CDC recommends the simple “Timed Up and Go Test,” or TUG.

A person is timed getting up from their chair, walking in a line, walking back, and sitting back down again.

It’s an easy and accurate measure for someone’s mobility.

Even this quick test, however, is usually skipped at appointments.


There’s a Solution

If you’re like most senior living center administrators, you want to have happy residents, happy staff, and a balanced budget.

Putting time and effort into improving and maintaining the mobility of your residents is an easy “pinch of prevention” for “a pound of cure.”


Attention on mobility, before issues begin to set it, will save the most.

That said, giving residents support at any stage in mobility loss will earn gains in happiness, staff hours, and the bottom line.


The list below shows the critical elements in improving the mobility of older adults:

  1. Strength Training
  2. Balance Improvement
  3. Increasing Flexibility
  4. Endurance Programs
  5. Social Support
  6. Tool Use (canes, wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers)

Traditionally, a generalized program for strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance has been employed by senior living centers.

This, however, as found and reviewed by the Current Geriatrics Report, results in only a slight improvement in walking, just around 5 percent.


*Walking is often used as the measure for overall mobility.

This is because ambulation is a very complex task.

It demands coordination of the cardiopulmonary, nervous, as well as musculoskeletal system.


While multi-component impairment-based walking exercises are excellent for wellbeing as they enhance strength, flexibility, and endurance, the surprising finding is that they don’t necessarily lead to better walking.

Instead, specific task-based motor learning walking exercises are the coordination and timing to achieve better walking ability.


This means that if your seniors need better skill at walking, they need to practice walking with skill-based exercise rather than multi-component exercise alone.


4 Keys to the Success of Your Mobility Program



Given that balance is one of the most important aspects of walking, HUR’s SmartBalance machine can be revolutionary.

Individuals can have enjoyable, interactive training sessions and see for themselves how it’s working and how they’re doing.



Resistance training in the lower body’s major muscle groups maximizes mobility.

Seniors can focus on leg extension and curl to build quadriceps, hamstring, endurance, and strength.


Getting the hips and butt into the program will help reduce falls and improve walking and posture.



Most of the body’s natural movements stem from or are supported by the core.

Including resistance training on these muscle groups will improve the foundation of a strong, balanced gait.


It’s a defeating myth that older adults can’t put on more muscle.


While residents who have strength trained their whole life may not gain more muscle, they can maintain their baselines.

Those seniors who haven’t resistance-trained seriously can gain muscle and strength to regain mobility.

That’s great news!


Working with trainers and therapists will yield even greater results and faster.



The ability of the body’s tendons and muscles to lengthen in response to movement allows the joints to move through their range of motion.

Therefore stretching the legs, hips, back, neck, and arms will help maintain flexibility, increase circulation, improve balance and coordination, and help with muscle control.

It will also reduce soreness, risk of injury and help release tension.


Final Thoughts

Getting your staff and residents to focus on how mobility will improve the entire community’s lives lends itself to even greater support from the entire center population.

After all, good things breed more good things.

Greater independence and a reduction of assistance are the tangible results you’re looking for in your residents.

HUR equipment can help.


It’s never too late for your residents to start training, get up, and get moving!

Strength is Ageless.

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Mr. Vincent
Mr. Vincent

International Market Director of TOUSDA, Rehabilitation Therapy Products Experts, Son, Husband, and Father.
Passionate about providing high-quality rehabilitation therapy products, especially wheelchair, electric wheelchair, commode wheelchair, commode chair, mobility aids, walking aids, crutch, walking stick, etc., and share the latest news, tips, blogs, advice, knowledge about the medical industry field.
Excited about TOUSDA's mission to become the premier online medical technology platform that empowers caregivers by spotlighting innovative devices and products to achieve optimal patient response and recovery.


Notes: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care.
Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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