As we grow older, one of the biggest changes that takes place in our life revolves around mobility. All throughout our lives, many of us were fortunate to move around freely and with ease—running to catch a ball, dropping to the floor for some quick push-ups, going for a quick bike ride, all were motions and actions that were nearly always taken for granted.

In our older age, we know that the same mobility simply doesn’t exist. Our bodies have put up with a lot, but it can be beyond frustrating to lose our movement potential. Because with our lack of mobility, there exists a lack of freedom, and it’s something beyond our control.

At LifeCare Advantage, we are driven and determined to helping people enrolled in Medicaid get connected with the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). We believe this is one of the best ways to maintain quality of life and the ability to stay in one’s home. Because of this, we strive to help patients get connected with a family member or friend in need, and with the CDPAP, caretakers can receive reimbursement for their services. Whether you’re in Brooklyn or The Bronx, sign up with LifeCare Advantage today to get started in the CDPAP. In the meantime, take a look at some of the best ways to increase mobility in older age.

Be proactive.

This is one of the most important aspects of maintaining and increasing mobility. Our bodies were designed to be active and in motion, and making the decision to be active and fit later on in life will take a much greater toll. To lessen the strains and impacts as we age, it’s crucial to make exercise a habit. Exercise often has different goals, such as strength training and cardio, and the number of times a week and intensity you bring to each workout can vary as a result. Best practices involve a balance and combination of both types of exercise, performed four to five times a week.

Of course, if you’re not in the best shape of your life, now’s not the time to suddenly force yourself to run five miles a day (in reality, that’s not a good idea in general). But one of the best things to do is make working out a habit, and one that is sustainable and evolving as you age.

If you’re reading this and thinking it’s too late, have no fear, because now is the perfect time for you to…

Move around.

As much as you can, as frequently as possible, without ever pushing yourself to the limits or setting yourself up for injury. If walking is not currently an option, talk with a doctor or physical therapist to find the best movements that are attainable for you. Whatever you can do in terms of activity and movement is better than doing nothing at all. As we’ve addressed in a previous blog post, exercise, in any number of forms, is incredibly vital for seniors to continue as a practice. Whether it’s yoga, tai chi, swimming, or trying some stretches at home, these moments of mobility are going to help not only your body’s functionality, but your overall quality of life as well.

Maintain a healthy weight.

This is often thought of in regards to weight loss, but the truth is, being underweight can be equally detrimental in terms of energy and mobility. As discussed in an article by the National Health Services in the United Kingdom, “Weighing too little can contribute to a weakened immune system, fragile bones and feeling tired.” The article goes on to explain that being underweight might also indicate some nutritional deficiencies are taking place, which is also a significant factor in energy as a whole. When we’re suffering from fatigue and exhaustion, we’re not motivated (or even able) to maintain mobility and exercise.

In terms of being overweight, this excess weight can put extra pressure on joints, making movement increasingly more uncomfortable. Many people who are morbidly obese express how it’s significantly more difficult to even get up the stairs. If movement is difficult and causes pain, it makes sense that people would be less apt to exercise and work on mobility as a whole.

Ultimately, not having a healthy weight (whether the scale falls short or tips over) can have some severely negative impacts on your mobility. If weight is something that’s holding back your ability to be mobile and move around, this is going to have significant consequences later on in life. Staying proactive in maintaining a healthy weight is a crucial step in being able to have more access to mobility later on.

Get involved.

Far too often, there’s an overall lack of activity and socializing for the elderly. So much of this is caused by the challenges that come from getting around, and it’s such an unfortunate circumstance—but one that can be corrected. It once might have been so easy to jump in your car and meet up with a friend, but now, even getting down that front step might seem like an insurmountable task.

Mobility should not have to be something that holds you back from the socializing that’s necessary to maintain throughout our lives. In fact, finding ways to get involved with groups or the community as a whole can be excellent motivators to continue working on mobility—the two go hand in hand. If you’re enrolled in Medicaid and live in New York, you might qualify for the CDPAP, an opportunity for a loved one to help you throughout the week with things like grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and just getting around in general. This can eliminate the risk of falling or the challenges that a lack of mobility can bring, which sets you up for success when it comes to getting involved.

Meetup is an excellent way to find groups that cater to your interests. For senior citizens, there is a plethora of groups in New York that you can get involved with, most of which are free and open to anyone! If you miss certain things from your career days, such as working with children or shelving books in the library, reach out to organizations around the community to see if there’s an opportunity for you. Not only is this a great way to give back to your community, but you’ll be active, and therefore maintaining your mobility in the process.

Create a hazard-free environment.

We’ve discussed this topic in a previous blog post, but one of the greatest challenges to increased mobility is right in your own home. In the aforementioned stair example, your home was likely not a hazard when you bought it (or at least, maybe not hazardous in the present ways). But nowadays, those stairs, that rug, that rocking chair—they all pose a threat to not only your mobility, but your health as a whole. It’s super important to make your house accessible. Putting the time in now to make this happen will save you so much toil and hassle down the road.

Look into getting a ramp installed to your front door, have someone put rails in place that can help you get up as necessary, and fix up your bathroom space with a seated area and handrail to make this potentially dangerous area a much safer one. If you live in a multi-level home, consider moving the essentials, such as your bedroom stuff and kitchen necessities, to the first floor. Your home should be a home, not an obstacle course—these steps will continue to eliminate hazards around your home, leading to increased mobility as a result.

Get help through the CDPAP.

One of the best measures to make sure your mobility continues to be practiced and ceases to be an issue comes from enrolling with the CDPAP. With a family member or friend matched to help provide for you as a caregiver, you can receive assistance with any and all of these things. Your loved one can help drive you places, go for walks with you, make your home more hazard-free, help you cook healthier and nutritional meals—the sky is practically the limit.

Don’t delay to get the support you deserve. If you have the opportunity to stay in your home, this is so much more preferable than paying massive expenses and staying in the care of strangers. The CDPAP is the best way to make this possibility turn into a reality. Work with LifeCare Advantage today to get started.