Inactivity and mollycoddling : The silent killer of the elderly

adult affection baby child


This message is one that the public needs to be more aware of.

It is in our nature to want to mollycoddle our elderly, your parents, grandparents and other loved ones looked after you when you were growing up.

Now they are getting old , you want to do everything to help them.

It’s only right you want to make sure you get them their tea when they are feeling tired, you run out and do the groceries for them, you help them to the toilet, you get them a wheelchair when you feel it maybe too far for them to walk.

Is it right? Are you helping?

You do these things because it makes you feel better. You feel you are giving back. Your intentions are noble and just but let me say you are helping them to an early grave.

Harsh ! But listen!

As a Senior Elderly care doctor in the united kingdom, I see the effects of frailty every day.

Frailty is when the in-built reserves of our body decline, such as that even minor ailments lead to dramatic deterioration in our health.

What is one of the cardinal features of frailty?

Loss of skeletal muscle mass and function .

What is a major contributor to this?


See by trying to be nice , we push our elderly to become dependent and weak. Dependency and weakness is not what we are seeking.

We need to push our elderly to keep active.

Sure, they need some rest for the first day after a serious illness but you know from my experience what are some of the biggest killers after that?

Blood clots in your leg or lung, pneumonia, pressure sores, physical de-conditioning , falling from muscle weakness that can give you bleeds in the brain.

And yes all of the above are caused by inactivity and mollycoddling doesn’t help!

I am the first to say that frailty is complex, its not just inactivity that causes it but it is a big part.

Listen, our parents and grandparents deserve more from us. They deserve more from healthcare. They have done so much for us. They need our support.

Get them out of bed as soon as possible. Get them moving. If they can do their own shopping without difficulty- don’t start doing it for them. Or if they can’t go with them-keep them active.

If they are in the hospital and they haven’t been sat out on day 2 or at-least day 3 .

Ask why?

There maybe a legitimate reason but most of the time it is because it has been overlooked for other supposed pressing concerns.

Get them out in the sunshine, get them walking, get them doing exercise.

Get them doing strength training . Strengthening the quadriceps muscle is so beneficial to falls prevention.

Give them a mindset to never give up , to keep moving.

By mollycoddling you set them up for failure.

So remember  rest is rust in everyone, especially our elderly.

Thank you.

P.S- If you need more information on this topic as it is something I feel very strongly about -feel free to hit me up in the comments section.















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