When my daughter was 9 months old, she and I had our own special tradition. When I would straighten my closet, we would put on hats and she would look at herself in the mirror. While she gazed at her own being in amazement, she would sway her hips side to side. This went on for months. Then one day she turned around and took her first steps to me. My heart soared and almost broke the ceiling fixture. What a moment! Movement. Even better, independent movement. I screamed and picked up my daughter, twirled her around, kissed her, and laughed in pure joy. She glowed with triumph, surprise, and excitement.
Mobility. It is a necessary and yet underappreciated aspect of human life. As healthy adults, we don't appreciate our ability to move independently until there is an injury or illness that changes our mobility status. As we get older, odd thoughts begin to creep into our heads. What if I cannot walk in the future? What if I am confined to a wheelchair?
Dr Richard Bohannon and his colleaques conducted a brilliant study 1 several years ago in which he asked persons who had recently suffered a stroke, “What are your goals and what do you hope to accomplish?” What do you think the overwhelming answer was? “I want to walk.”
As a knowledgeable species, we need to delve into the entire area of mobility. We must take steps to prevent loss of mobility of older persons. Professor Joan Edelstein and her authors did just that in this issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation. This wonderful compendium explores all these areas and offers innovative suggestions for this impending conundrum.
I want to thank Joan and all her authors for doing such a comprehensive and insightful job in covering this subject. I believe clinicians will take this issue to heart and change some of their treatment and evaluative focus to help provide the most updated care in this area.
Putting some of the suggestions in this issue into practice may not make our heart soar to the ceiling, but it can help us to get more of our patients moving along.
1. Bohannon R, Andrews A, Smith M. Rehabilitation goals of patients with hemiplegia. Intern J Rehabil Res