The first wave of the Baby Boomer generation turned 65 in 2011. This is relevant because nearly 70 percent of seniors aged 65 and older struggle with a chronic disease like arthritis or heart disease.
Aging and the onset of chronic disease can certainly make it harder to get around and be as active as you once were. In fact, a lack of mobility among Baby Boomers has been tied to an array of negative psychological and social outcomes.
This makes sense as a lack of mobility often means being less able to visit friends or remain self-sufficient. Although electric scooters and walking canes can temporarily resolve some of your mobility issues, if you can’t be as socially active as you once were, you understandably end up feeling overly dependent on loved ones and unable to live life as you once did.
The good news is that seniors exercise some control over their own mobility issues, according to a clinical review from the Journal of the American Medical Association. Specifically, studies show that obesity, lack of physical activity, chronic disease and strength-balance issues play a role in limiting mobility.
Steps to Increase Mobility
Primary care physicians and other caretakers often look for signs of elevated blood pressure or clogged airways before checking specifically for lack of mobility. This is understandable but does seniors a disservice since mobility issues profoundly influence their quality of life. Lack of mobility can even affect whether Baby Boomers remain self-sufficient or need caretaker assistance.
If there’s one take-home point from studies on Baby Boomers with mobility issues, though, it’s that you have control over your life. Since lack of physical activity and obesity are both risk factors for developing mobility issues down the line, going for daily walks and ensuring your weight stays in a healthy range can really pay off over the long haul. Using walking canes can also help seniors with adequate upper-body strength improve their balance and gain more overall mobility.
To gauge balance and overall mobility, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. In essence, this mobility test looks to see whether Baby Boomers can maintain mobility and good balance during routine tasks. This test might seem simplistic, but it can help Baby Boomers and physicians alike prevent hip fractures and ensure optimal health far into your golden years.
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