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Loss of mobility

Your illness and treatments are likely to affect your body in many ways. One of these may be your ability to move around. This could range from feeling unsteady to not being able to walk. This can be made more difficult if you’re attached to medical equipment, like a drip, syringe driver or oxygen feed.

Being less mobile can be distressing and frustrating, especially if you used to be very active. It can affect your quality of life as you become less able to do as many things as you used to. You may have additional physical and psychological problems as a result. For example, being less active may mean you:

  • put on weight
  • lose your appetite and possibly lose weight
  • experience constipation more frequently
  • experience a build-up of fluid in parts of your body
  • develop more sensitive skin as you sit or lie in the same position for long periods of time
  • start to lose muscle strength, so you find activities more difficult or tiring as you have less strength than before
  • are more likely to experience depression

However, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, mobility aids and equipment can help you adapt and keep as active as possible. And there are many exercises  you can do at home, including if you can’t stand.

Complementary therapy, like massage for aching muscles, can be helpful too.

Getting mobility aids and equipment

If you’re having mobility problems, contact your local council   social services department who will arrange for an occupational therapist to assess your needs. They may advise that you need occupational or physiotherapy, and may suggest equipment, adaptations and mobility aids.

Physiotherapy and mobility equipment can mean you can continue to be active. This can make a real difference to your daily routine and also your state of mind, especially if you’ve started to think your illness means you’re not able to get about anymore.

Depending on your financial situation, you may get mobility support, including equipment, provided at no cost.

There are a number of different mobility aids available, from grab rails for doors or bathrooms, to wheelchairs, walking frames and stair lifts. Adaptations to your home like wider door frames and ramps can be made too.

Find out more by reading our article on getting equipment and adapting your home.  You may be able to get a grant to help pay for any work needed to adapt your home.

If you experience a sudden loss of mobility, tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

External websites

NHS website  

Carers UK website   – equipment and changes to your home

This page is for general information only. It's not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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