This week the country is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with all the pomp and circumstance at its disposal.
It is certainly a historic milestone – as Elizabeth II is the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service.
The Queen was in Kenya when she came to the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father King George VI. She became the first Sovereign in more than 200 years to accede while abroad. She was crowned in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
A weekend of celebrations will take place from June 2 to June 5 and people up and down the country are planning events to mark the occasion.
An unhappy milestone
But less than a month ago there was another, less happy, milestone when the Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in almost 60 years.
She has only ever been unable to attend two other State Openings of Parliament during her reign – both when she was in the late stages of pregnancy.
Buckingham Palace said her absence on this occasion was due to “episodic mobility problems”.
At the age of 96 it is no surprise that the Queen suffers from some health issues.
Over the last few months she has been seen using a walking stick and has pulled out of several official engagements on the advice of doctors.
She was left feeling exhausted after contracting Covid earlier this year – and there were reports that a wheelchair-friendly lift had been installed at Balmoral.
But what exactly are episodic mobility problems?
There is nothing unusual about episodic mobility problems – this is something that affects many people as they grow older.
Simply put it means they have trouble moving around some of the time. It could refer to infirmity or unsteadiness when walking, and possibly weakness or joint pain.
As people age they lose muscle mass and become frailer. For many this will necessitate using a walking aid, some will eventually need a wheelchair.
The NHS says every year more than one in three people over 65 suffer a fall, which can cause serious injury and even death.
Falls can also lead to a loss of confidence – in turn leading to less activity and loss of strength.
Help for mobility problems
There is help out there. Anyone who has trouble getting around should consider walking aids, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Stairlifts can also prove invaluable – allowing people with mobility problems to stay in their home rather than having to move.
Some older people may be reluctant to begin using the aids available – but they can significantly help mobility and confidence.
Types of help available
Some types of walking sticks can be borrowed from the NHS. Anyone needing one should speak to a GP, physiotherapist or hospital staff. Walking sticks can also be bought online or from mobility shops. Prices can range from £5 to £30.
Walking frames give more support than sticks. They can also be borrowed from the NHS or bought online or from mobility shops – with prices ranging from around £20 to £200.
Anyone needing a wheelchair should get an assessment from the NHS. Wheelchairs can also be bought online or from mobility shops. Prices range from around £150 to more than £1,000.
If you know someone who has mobility problems and who would be helped by a stairlift, get in touch with our friendly team of experts at Halton Stairlifts. Call 0800 644 7766 to find out more about our full range of curved and straight stairlifts, or to arrange your free home assessment today.
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