How Seniors and the Wheelchair-Bound Stay Healthy

How Seniors and the Wheelchair-Bound Stay Healthy

Many senior citizens struggle with mobility as they continue to age and become more reliant on wheelchairs. In fact, elders tend to lose their mobility as they age due to things like strokes, arthritis, and injuries from falls. 

Homes that aren’t wheelchair-friendly can cause seniors to potentially disconnect themselves from society due to limited mobility, and it is extremely difficult to navigate their homes. 

Read below to find out how to make your senior citizen’s life easier, healthier, and even more active. 

 

Ways to Make the House More Wheelchair Accessible and a Healthy Environment

Here are a few important ways to make a home more wheelchair accessible and healthy. 

Install Wheelchair Ramps

Installing a wheelchair ramp to the entrance of your senior loved one’s home is the first step to making their home wheelchair-friendly. Wheelchair ramps also allow a senior in a wheelchair to easily get to the entryway of their home and spend time outside. Seniors who spend time outdoors are less likely to experience depression and anxiety and have a reduced risk of mental health problems compared to people who stay indoors. 

Spending time outdoors also increases your immune system, keeps your vitamin D levels healthy, and boosts your overall health.  

Wheelchair ramps are easy to install and convenient for everyone. When selecting a wheelchair ramp, consider the senior’s specific personal needs to determine the type of ramp you install. 

Some types of wheelchair ramps for seniors have different benefits include:

  • Aluminum Wheelchair Ramps: Portable and can be placed anywhere that is convenient.
  • Pathway Ramps: Lightweight stability and added security.
  • Modular Ramps: Best for homes that require more elevation. 

Wheelchair Friendly Doors

Making the doorways wheelchair-friendly is the next step for making your senior loved one’s home more wheelchair accessible. Seniors age 65 and older should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week. 

If you’re chair-bound, you obviously face special challenges, one of those being doors. Doorways need to be wide enough for a senior to be able to get their wheelchair through comfortably and as easily as possible. 

Being mobile around the house allows seniors to exercise indoors. They can lift light weights, stretch, and move around the house to improve muscle tone and flexibility, and promote cardiovascular health. 

Here are a few helpful ways to make the doorways in a senior’s home more wheelchair friendly:

  • Widen the doors to at least 32 inches; however, it’s recommended to have the doorway 36 inches wide for comfortable passage.
  • Make doors easy to open by using door handles, pulls, or latches that are easy on the hands and wrists.
  • Install offset hinges.
  • Remove doors and trims.
  • Don’t use automated doors because they can close too quickly.

Bathroom Appliances

For a senior in a wheelchair, using the bathroom can be a stressful burden. Conditions like arthritis or knee and hip issues can make moving around the shower or bathtub very painful. So, this would make it more likely for seniors to neglect their hygiene. 

There are also clear bathroom hazards for the elderly due to reduced mobility, impaired balance, and lessened dexterity. Hygiene is a very important key to keeping your body healthy and clean. 

Here are some ways to help make the bathroom a less burdensome experience for a wheelchair-bound senior:

  • Install grab bars to help support the senior onto the toilet or shower seat.
  • Slip-proof the bathroom to prevent any accidents that could happen from a wet floor.
  • Install a toilet riser if the toilet seat is too low for a comfortable transfer from the wheelchair.

More Accessible Bedroom

Many things change as we get older, but something that we don’t necessarily expect to change is how we sleep. Adults over the age of 65 should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but getting quality sleep at night can be difficult for seniors. 

A wheelchair-friendly bedroom for a senior is the next way to help them around the house and better sleep at night. A wheelchair-friendly bedroom can also allow the seniors to relax and have to themselves during the day. 

Here are a few changes on how to make their bedroom wheelchair accessible:

  • Look for a bed that is big enough for the senior to sleep on but still leaves enough space for movement.
  • The mattress for the bed needs to be less than 21 inches tall, so the senior does not climb on the bed.
  • Have a nightstand next to the bed for easy access during the night.
  • Dressers should be in reach of the bed so the senior can access it easily but have enough space to get dressed and move around. 

Methods for Seniors Using Wheelchair to Stay Healthy

There are many activities seniors can still enjoy while being wheelchair-bound. Here is some helpful advice for seniors using wheelchairs to remain engaged and connected. 

  • Exercise Daily: Seniors who are in a wheelchair can still exercise and stay physically healthy. Wheelchair exercises will help the body prevent soreness, improve mental health, and have better moods. In addition, exercise can increase happiness, reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve sleep. 
  • Mind Stimulation: Stimulating the mind is a great way for seniors in wheelchairs to stay connected and keep the mind sharp. It will help to develop neural plasticity and build up functions that will fight against cell loss in the future.
  • Find a New Hobby: Seniors are at a great stage of life to develop new hobbies. Hobbies can keep the mind active and prevent seniors from being bored or unmotivated. 
  • Travel Around Asheville, NC: A great way for seniors in wheelchairs to stay engaged and connected is to be surrounded by family and friends. Family and friends can provide a level of comfort for the seniors and prevent them from being lonely. To encourage them to be healthy and active, plan an exciting weekend with your senior loved ones in the city of Asheville, NC

If you or a senior loved one requires wheelchair-accessible transportation in the Asheville area, you can travel in style with Loyal Lifts. We have provided reliable, safe, and readily available transportation since 2017. Contact us to schedule your transportation appointment today.