As you become less well, you may find it becomes more difficult to move around. This may be because of weakness, fatigue, pain, breathlessness or a combination of things that just make it seem too much effort. While rest is important, it is also helpful if you continue to move around independently for as long as possible. You and your family will need to think carefully about how to make things safe for you to do so. Look around and see how safe the areas in your home are for someone who may now be unsteady on their feet.
Tips for coping with reduced mobility
Remove the hazards
- Try to keep things uncluttered around the house.
- Make sure doorways are not blocked by things jutting out.
- Make sure the floor is clear of hazards.
- Remove flimsy items that could be easily knocked over.
- Make sure the flooring is secured, e.g. no loose rugs to trip over, no carpet edges or tiles lifting.
Remember to change position frequently and to take short walks. Even walking to the lavatory and back is good exercise. A simple walking aid, such as a stick or frame, may help to maintain mobility and improve confidence. It is much safer to use an aid than to clutch on to furniture – or people! The Hospice occupational therapist can advise on what aids are available. It is much easier to get up and down from a firm base than a very soft one. Try to ensure that the bed has a firm base and the mattress does not sag and that a firm and comfortable armchair is available (not too low or soft).
Make sure clothing is not hindering mobility or safety. Clothing needs to be loose and comfortable, but not too long or it may cause someone to trip – as can often happen with nightwear, dressing gowns and trailing belts. Footwear needs to be comfortable but secure. Avoid ‘sloppy’ footwear without backs. A slipper that cradles the whole foot is much safer than a mule type. Make sure that the soles of shoes or slippers are not shiny or slippery.
It is much easier to nurse someone in a hospital bed than a domestic one. Some specialist equipment may also be helpful. The district nurse can usually arrange aids and show you how to use them.