What are some ideas to add activity into each day? There are many activities to try that will match a person’s level of mobility. Consider the following table when trying to think of fun activities to try with the person in your care. No matter what the person’s level of mobility is, try to encourage the person to be as independent as their abilities will allow.
|Cannot stand to|
transfer from bed
|Can stand to transfer|
from bed to chair only
|Activities to try:Eat meals sitting at the side of the bed or in a chair.Participate in bed exercises.Take part in personal care to best ability.||Activities to try:Use a wheelchair that the person can move around in by themselves.Participate in chair exercises.Participate in sit-to-stand exercises.Get up for each meal.||Activities to try:Walk to the store.Walk to the mailbox.Get off the bus one stop early.Park the car farther away from the destination.Participate in hobbies (golf, swimming, dancing, and hiking).Take the stairs.Walk the halls of your home.|
For additional strategies to increase physical activity among older adults with disabilities, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Try a Tool
Keeping an activity diary may help you and your health care professional assess the person’s level of mobility and set goals for realistic and safe activity. Complete the Activity Diary every day for several days in a row to look for trends. Support safe mobility and prevent falls
How do you support a person to mobilize safely? Staying physically active is one of the best ways to prevent a fall! A fall is defined as a descent from a higher position to a lower position, without a person being about to control it.
There are many causes of falls, but two of the most common causes are from slips/trips and from medications. Approximately half of the falls that lead to hospitalization are a result of falls in the home. Tripping can be a result of objects in the way, objects that are loose or not sturdy, or water on the floor. Many slips/trips are a result of a loss of balance linked with a person’s health condition.
Consider the following ideas to support safe mobility:
- Ensure the person wears proper fitting shoes or other non-slip footwear.
- Use hand rails on one or both sides of the stairs.
- Ensure there is a clear path through the rooms and halls of the house.
- Remove loose rugs; they are a common trip hazard.
- Tuck electronic cords out of the way.
- Depending on the person’s level of mobility, consider getting dressed while sitting in a chair, or using a walker when the person has to stand for a long time.
- Have equipment installed in the bathroom (e.g. grab bars, raised toilet seat, or shower chair).
- Recognize if any medications taken by the person you care for make them feel tired or dizzy. Know when these medications are taken and don’t encourage activity around these times.
- Stay active! Encourage safe movement to the best of their ability.
- Depending on the person’s level of mobility, use safe transfer techniques for sitting to standing.
How do I transfer a person safely from sitting to standing?
- Talk to the person and tell them about your plan. Being encouraging may help the person maintain confidence.
- Consider if it is the right time or if you will need to try coming back to it later.
- Use proper body posture. Bend your knees, lift with your legs. Position yourself close to the person.
- Lift from the side. Remember not to pull the person up from the front (pulling the arms or hands can cause injury) and avoid lifting from behind.
- Go slow. After standing, pause to allow the body to catch up with the movement.
- Use equipment such as a transfer belt. Keep walking aids close by.
- Get help if you need it!
Facts About Falls
Did you know?
A fear of falling is a cause for concern. Fear prevents people from getting up and doing their regular, daily activities and can cause a person to decrease the number of times they get up and move. Fear, leading to this type of immobility, can lead to breakdown of the muscles and decrease independence very quickly. If the person you care for expresses a fear of falling and avoids getting up, speak to a health care professional about this and get a plan in place to add more safe activity into each day.
Here is an example of a guided video to teach a caregiver to support a person with walking and what to do if a person has fallen. Watch Help With Walking (2:26).Here is an additional example of a guided video to teach a caregiver to support a person to move from a bed to a wheelchair. Watch Moving from Bed to Wheelchair (3:31).What if the person falls?
Witnessing someone fall can be alarming. How you react can make a difference (both physically and emotionally) to the person who has fallen. Here are some suggested strategies if you witness someone fall.
Stay calm. It can be a very scary event when caregivers witness the person they are caring for fall. It is hard to resist trying to pull the person up right away, but this could cause more injury. Try to stay calm and make the person as comfortable as possible as you assess what has happened, if any injury has occurred, and if you need to get help.