Mobility is how well a person can move and get around. It’s not just walking or driving. It also affects things like whether you can do chores and take care of yourself at home.
You may not be able to change or control all the factors that impact your mobility. But you can take steps to protect your independence as you age. And there are resources to help you.
Falls are a leading cause of injuries for older adults. Broken bones and head injuries can range in severity and make it hard to keep doing everyday activities on your own. Take these steps to reduce your risk:
- Have a checkup (wellness visit) and eye exam each year to help find problems early. Managing chronic conditions, like diabetes, is also key.
- Review your medicines with your health care provider or pharmacist. Some medicines can make you feel light-headed or tired. Your provider might be able to change or adjust them to reduce side effects.
- Do activities that keep you strong and improve balance. Talk with your provider about exercises you can do at home. Aim to be active at least three times a week. Find out if a local community center or your health plan offers a fitness program or other resources. Visit http://www.nia.nih.gov/health and click on “Exercise and Physical Activity” to read about types of exercises, how to get started, and more.
- Check your home for hazards. Keep floors clear, use bright light bulbs, and get nonslip mats for the shower or bathtub. Learn more at http://www.nia.nih.gov/health. Search for “fall-proofing your home.”
Know Your Options
Think about how you get around now. Do you drive, take public transportation, bike, or walk? What would you do if you had to shop, go to your health care provider, get to work, or visit friends another way? Be more prepared for change by asking yourself questions like these:
- Do I have family or friends nearby who could give me rides?
- Does my health plan offer transportation services to health care appointments? If so, what does that include and how does it work?
- Would a bus take me where I need to go? Could a friend drive me?
- Can I get low- or no-cost fares for shared-ride programs and public transportation? If so, what can I do now to get those fares?
Along with talking with your family, provider, and health plan, you can find information online. Visit credible sources, such as Rides in Sight.
Sources: Medications linked to falls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important facts about falls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, MyMobility Plan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Learn more about fall prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention