How to Assist Elderly with Walking

Last Updated: 05.12.19

 

If one of your friends or family members loses mobility and needs assistance to get out of bed, walk, and move around the house, using the right walkers for elderly may not be enough. Here is where your help is needed and providing it properly involves taking a few specific steps.

Therefore, if you want to help a person with limited mobility to walk, stand up, and carry out other day-to-day activities, you might find this post to be of help as we have highlighted below a few things you need to keep in mind when doing so.

Safety

Before getting your senior up for a walk, there are a few things you need to pay attention to as far as your safety is regarded. Helping a person with limited mobility accomplish simple tasks should be done without any risk of you or the senior getting hurt.

Therefore, using good body mechanics is one of the first things to learn. When caring for an older person, you need to employ a certain body posture in order to avoid hurting your own back. Make sure you keep your head up, your back straight, shoulders back, and your chest high.

When lifting a senior, do so with your knees bent and use your leg muscles instead of relying only on your arms and simply pull the senior. If you pull using only your upper part of the body, you risk getting hurt. Also, when lifting your senior to go for a walk, do not reach out or turn from the waist.

Although such things might seem simple, their importance is paramount as far as your safety is concerned. Don’t take such responsibilities and activities too lightly as both your body and your senior’s are involved and utmost attention is needed to avoid injuries and mishaps.

 

Use the right devices and accessories

If your senior’s mobility is only partially reduced and can thus walk with some assistance, you need to take care of a few more things before you actually get to the walking part. Ensure that your senior is wearing supportive footwear or non-skid socks.

Slippers or slip-on shoes are not recommended. The shoes should stay securely in place yet allow for comfortable walking. They should not be heavy or loose yet not too tight either. If you’re not sure about what shoes to get, ask a healthcare professional or the district nurse for more information.

Get all the things your senior needs for a safe and comfortable experience. If self-aid devices such as walkers or canes are needed, ensure they are within reach. Also, make sure the floor or space used for walking is free of things that could make your senior trip and fall. Free that space for a safer walk.

 

Helping a senior stand

Once you’ve taken care of the things we’ve mentioned above, you can proceed with your assistance and help the older person stand up. Bring the walker or cane close to the bed or chair where your senior is sitting and ask him/her to move to the front of it with the feet directly under his/her center of gravity.

The senior should put his or her hands on the walker or the arms of a chair and never around your neck. Try to use your knees to block the older person’s knees and thus help the senior keep his/her legs under him/her in a safe position.

Place your arms around the senior’s waist and make sure the older person leans forward so that his/her nose is in the same line with his/her toes. Ask the senior to push off with his/her hands on the count of three. Provide any extra support your senior might need to stand. If the person you’re assisting is not very steady, you could use a pants belt or a gait belt for enhanced control.

Assisting seniors with walking

If you’ve successfully reached this part, make sure you position yourself alongside the senior’s weaker side, place one hand on his/her waistband or belt, and one on his/her shoulder. If the older person you’re assisting can do a lot of walking without too much help, then ask him/her to take you by the arm.

Always stand close and be ready to provide the needed help. Don’t let a senior with disabilities or reduced mobility alone. Assist the elderly wherever they need to go in order to prevent unfortunate events such as falling from happening.

It is important to provide as much help as needed. Try not to do all the work yourself and ask the senior to put in as much effort as he/she can. This way you will help the older person be active and exercise his/her muscles more.

Remember that losing independence and mobility is not easy to deal with, therefore, keep an optimistic attitude toward your senior’s progress. Let the older people you’re assisting know that there is no rush and they can take their time to reach a certain destination or simply walk as fast/slow as they want.

Allow them to walk their pace and take a break whenever needed. This activity is a challenge itself and should not become more difficult than it may already be.

When the walking session is over, ensure that the senior turns fully and reaches back with his/her arms before sitting. Ask for a professional’s help whenever you’re not sure about what to do as far as assisting a senior is concerned.

Unfortunate events can still occur and if your senior has fallen, you need to follow a few simple yet highly important steps. First, make sure there is no injury before trying to help the older person get up and stand. If the senior is injured, do not move him/her and call for help. Moving an injured person in such cases could make things worse for both you and the older person.

 

 

 

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