Mobility Assistance – An Important Caregiving Activity (Series of 5 Blogs)

Mr. Rao’s Condition

Mr. V.V.S Rao, a senior has Parkinson’s disease.  He had two falls in the past year and a half. Though his falls were uneventful, he always feared falling again. In fact, this hit his mobility. He started limiting his physical activity, and as a result felt weaker. Not to mention, he was demotivated to try again. He had led a very active life before he fell. But, now his confidence and initiative were at an all-time low.

Mr. Rao hires a caregiver
Caregiver Mamali Behra

Mamali Behera, an enthusiastic and confident professional caregiver from Life Circle, came in to assist Mr. Rao with activities of daily living. She also had to offer mobility assistance and manage medication.  She found it difficult to assist him in moving around because of his fear of falling. “He would hold my hands very firmly while walking”, she explains.

What Changed?

Main training leke ayee hoon; Main apko nahi giraoongi, trust me”, (I’m a trained caregiver, I’ll not let you fall, trust me) she’d keep telling Mr. Rao. Thus, convincing him to co-operate with her. They followed a basic exercise schedule thrice a day. He also started walking every evening, with support from Mamali. All this was a part of Mr. Rao’s Patient Care Plan that Mamali followed. Over time, his balance, strength and flexibility improved.

Mamali understands that falls can affect quality of a senior’s life adversely. She knows that falls can be prevented to a large extent. Therefore, keeping Mr. Rao’s bathroom dry always is a high priority for her. Also, when she notices any kind of risks that may lead to fall, she is there to catch and avert it.

“He could barely walk; his neck was very stiff too. Now look at him, he can walk 10 lengths along the corridor without support. See his neck, he’s able to move it 180 degrees” says Mamali with a deep sense of satisfaction. Mr. Rao is very fond of Mamali whose jovial nature has uplifted his spirit.

Training at Life Circle

Life Circle’s caregiver training covers basic physiotherapy (gentle exercises) for seniors, the importance of fall prevention and aspects of mobility assistance for seniors with different conditions. A qualified nurse constantly supports caregivers on their job and ensures that they follow the personalized care plan.  In many cases, caregivers work along with a physiotherapist to follow an exercise plan for the patient.

Evidence on Mobility

Researchers have found that being afraid of falling directly affects one’s mobility. Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. Balance in standing and walking is a skill that older adults can learn to maintain and/or improve. We believe that gentle exercise, walking, strength training, yoga etc. reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Furthermore, any exercise we include in the care plan needs to be approved by the treating doctor and the physiotherapist. 

About the Author

Madhumita, a former Software professional is now a full-time mom of a bubbly 3-year-old. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, singing and is a campaigner for sustainable living practices.

 

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