To most of us, being able to move around is taken for granted, but to many residents, it is hard to be mobile. Some are confined to beds or wheelchairs, others must use walkers and canes to help them get around.
For people who are bedridden, the staff at Algonquin move the resident quite often in small ways - they elevate the head of the bed and use pillows to redistribute body weight. Residents in wheelchairs are encouraged to use the wheelchair themselves rather then have someone push them. This keep their upper body strong and gives them choices of where they would like to go. People who use canes and walkers are encouraged to practice walking both inside and outdoors. This will increase their level of endurance and make them feel like they have accomplished something.
The staff at Algonquin are always trying to improve the residents level of mobility. Walking upright is the highest level of mobility while being in bed is the lowest. Being mobile promotes self-esteem and a feeling of physical well being which helps Algonquin "A Place Called Home".
Exercise is important for people of all ages, but for seniors, it is especially important to keep mobile because it will help prolong your life. An Activity Guide for Older Adults outlines how 30 minutes of exercise a day will lead to better physical and mental health. Studies also show exercise will help prevent people from falling in later life.
The exercise classes are held in the dinning room for all residents who wish to participate, even those in wheelchairs. ANH has purchased a DVD called "wheelchair whoga", and everyone sits and follows along by watching the DVD and doing exercises at their pace.
Many elderly people have trouble walking and keeping their balance. They do not lift their feet very high. Being able to live on one level is ideal. The Algonquin Nursing Home is on one floor, which helps the residents move around.
The use of walkers or canes can also make it easier for elderly people to get around. They can help prevent falls by giving the person something to hold on to. The staff at Algonquin teach the residents how to use walkers or canes. This is an adjustment for them because a person's normal gait requires two free arms.
Walkers should be at a proper height for the person and the arms should be slightly flexed when using one. The walker is moved forward first, then the person moves their legs one at a time. It is also very important that proper fitting shoes are worn when using a walker. Once the person is walking well with a walker, they can move to a cane if they feel comfortable with it.
The residents are encouraged to increase their level of mobility if they can, so they don't become dependent on a walking device. The staff are there to help them. It's all part of the care provided which makes Algonquin "A Place Called Home".