Mobility impairments don't have to bring everything to a halt

Upper Body Impairments

As your loved one ages, they may begin to feel weak or helpless as they begin to need help with everyday tasks they used to complete independently.  One of the most drastic changes your loved one may experience is a loss of mobility in their arms, hands, and fingers.  Life changes like mobility loss often cause fear, stress, confusion, anger, and even depression in older adults as they struggle to adjust to their new “normal.” 

Loss of Mobility

Taking Action

We rely on manual strength and dexterity for many everyday activities.  While your loved one may experience some new challenges associated with the loss of mobility in their upper limbs, there are many simple changes you can help them make to overcome these obstacles, improve their quality of life, and maximize their independence.

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Being Aware

Around The Kitchen

Cooking can be difficult for older adults with limited mobility and dexterity.  Make sure your loved can access their kitchen by considering the following:

  • Small knobs and handles may be difficult for them to grasp and open. Consider installing D-handles on drawers and cabinet doors to give them easier access to these areas.
  • Widen silverware with foam padding to help your loved one better grip their utensils.
  • Knobs may be difficult for your loved one to turn and adjust to the right temperature.  Consider installing a hands-free faucet with an anti-scald device in your loved one’s sink to make doing dishes a pain free process.  Bonus:  invest in a hands-free soap dispenser
  • Wrap masking tape around the edges of jar lids to improve your loved one’s grip. You may also want to consider investing in a gripping tool or electric jar opener to help your loved one open tough jars. 
  • Canned goods may be problematic for your loved one. Pull tabs may be difficult for them to grasp and regular can openers can be a nightmare.  Try giving your loved one an electric can opener to help them safely open cans.

Fit and fashionable

Dressing and Hygiene

Everyday tasks, such as dressing and bathing, can become difficult or downright painful when your loved one loses strength and dexterity.  Some simple modifications and tools can help your loved one regain their independence and maintain their dignity. 

  • Improve your loved one’s grip by wrapping rubber bands or cycling tape around commonly used items (like bottles, hand rails, toothbrushes, etc.).
  • Buy your loved one an electric toothbrush to ensure they are able to painlessly and effectively brush their teeth.
  • Put shampoo and conditioner in soap dispensers so your loved one can pump out premeasured amounts of soap.
  • Provide your loved one with an elevated toilet seat they can use to safely get on and off of the toilet. A wiping aid may also be essential to ensure they are able to stay clean and hygienic.

Replace buttons and zippers with velcro and elastic so your loved one doesn’t have to fiddle around with complicated clothing

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Function in

Everyday Life

Hearing loss can have a negative impact on your loved one’s ability to live safely and independently in their own home.  Ensure your loved one has the tools they need to maintain their dignity and independence as they experience these life changes.

  • If your loved one is having trouble hearing their doorbell, consider installing a video doorbell or one that will flash.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with a flashing strobe light to ensure your loved one receives necessary safety alerts they need.
  • Consider buying your loved one a vibrating watch as a portable timer.
  • Put a telephone amplifier on your loved one’s phone so that they can enjoy easy access to their phone. Bonus:  some even include a flashing ringer to alert your loved one when they are receiving a call.
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Adjusting and

Adapting to Dexterity Loss

Don’t forget to care for your loved one’s emotional and mental needs as you are addressing their physical needs.  Coping with mobility loss can be difficult.

  • Provide your loved one with exercises they can do to improve dexterity and strength in their upper limbs.
  • Help refocus your loved one on what they can still do without modification or assistance.
  • Listen to your loved one’s concerns and needs without judgment. They are the expert on their life.

Hearing loss is difficult to cope with, but Beverly’s Daughter is here to help.  Have your loved one’s audiologist or primary care doctor craft a list of potential modifications your loved one may need and send it over to our team for a customized action plan within 48 hours of receipt.  Your loved one is our priority – let us help you in supporting them.

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