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What To Do When an Elderly Parent Can’t Walk

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A senior man with short gray hair holding a cane is looking directly at the camera and smiling

Life can be complicated. And as much as we want to believe our parents are superheroes, there may be a point where mobility becomes a significant challenge for them—especially in their later years. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to witness an elderly parent struggling with their walking ability. 

Fortunately, there are some changes you can make to improve their life and help them, like:

  1. Determining their needs
  2. Making home modifications
  3. Looking into assistive mobility devices
  4. Thinking about transportation
  5. Planning for the future

However, there may be a point where staying at home is no longer the best option. If you have a loved one struggling with mobility, consider looking into senior living communities with a focus on supporting each and every resident with their unique needs. This can be an excellent way to improve your loved one’s quality of life!

Determine Their Needs:

Understanding the specific needs of your parent is the first crucial step. There are some questions you should ask yourself—and them—like:

  • Is the difficulty in walking due to a temporary condition? 
  • Do they have any medical conditions that may be expected to change?
  • Are they at risk of hurting themselves in any way?
  • Are there other health conditions that compound this mobility issue? 

It can be particularly helpful to schedule a visit with a medical professional so your parent can receive a thorough examination. Then, you can begin planning to make changes to support your parent how they need!

Making Home Modifications:

Once you know what your parent needs, it may be necessary to make some adjustments to their home to make your parent’s environment safer. Consider looking into some changes like:

  • Installing ramps rather than stairs
  • Putting up grab bars in the bathroom to reduce the risk of slips and falls
  • Removing clutter or unnecessary furniture that may be in the way
  • Adding a chair or stool to the shower
  • Installing anti-slip mats in areas like the sink, front entryway, and bathroom

These modifications can make a significant difference in the daily life of a senior struggling with mobility. And if you want to bring yourself even more peace of mind, consider installing a medical alert system in easily accessible areas so your parent can always receive emergency medical support if something were to go wrong.

Looking Into Assistive Mobility Devices:

Mobility plays a big part in how independent your parent can remain, and this can have a significant impact on their overall quality of life. So consider doing what you can to support their individual capabilities, like looking into assistive mobility devices like:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Motor scooters
  • Chair lifts for the stairways

These can provide your loved one with the ability to remain independent and mobile with minimal pain, which can have a wonderful impact on their happiness.

Thinking About Transportation

Daily activities such as grocery shopping or medical appointments always require some form of transportation. If walking is a challenge, it’s time to consider alternative transportation options.

Maybe a family member can help, or perhaps a community service offers transportation for the elderly. Maybe someone you know has access to a vehicle designed to transport wheelchairs, or can help make certain areas more wheelchair accessible.

It can be helpful to look into delivery services in the area to make grocery shopping much easier or join your parent on longer errands when they’ll be out and about for a long period of time. This can be an excellent way to spend time together and take care of your own errands as well!

A group of seniors sitting in chairs, doing seated exercises with one arm raised in the air.

Planning for the Future

While addressing immediate needs is critical, it’s also important to plan for future scenarios. Health conditions may worsen over time, requiring more intensive care or even a transition to assisted living. Having a plan in place for these possibilities can provide peace of mind for all involved.

Talk to your parent about what they want from their future, and consider different scenarios. What will you do if your parent can’t remain independent, or if they were to slip and hurt themselves? Where will they live?

Questions like these, even though they can often be an emotional discussion, can be an excellent way to prepare you and your parent for the future.

Getting Professional Help

When an elderly parent struggles with mobility, it can be a difficult and emotional time. However, by actively meeting their needs, you can help maintain a high quality of life for your parent. Sometimes, it’s no longer the best idea for them to remain at home, and it may be time for professional care.

If your parent is in need of a senior living community that can go above and beyond to meet their needs, book a tour with us at Meadow View Senior Living. We’re here to help you and your loved one!

Written by Meadow View Senior Living

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