When does an aging parent or other loved one need to start using a cane or walker or other assistive mobility device?
From my experience and all those very many family and professional caregivers I’ve spoken with, our elderly parents will be pretty much the last ones to admit there is a need for some kind of device. They’d rather fall first, and even then resist the concept because of pride, the need for independence, or even to one up a fellow elder.
Getting assistive devices to keep aging parents mobile is important. If you see a need for your aging parent to have some kind of support for mobility, try these tactics:
1. Explain—or have your parents’ physician explain—the actual risk of not using some kind of device. In fact, the physician can be even more assertive by saying it’s a necessity to use a cane, walker, or whatever device is needed.
2. Allay the inevitable financial concerns by noting that if prescribed, most devices are well subsidized by provincial governments.
3. Help arrange for a proper ‘fitting’ and sizing and ensure all paperwork is completed for the subsidy.
4. Arrange for the assistive mobility device firm to provide an introductory session on how to safely use the device for your parents, and then ideally a follow up check.
5. Keep a close eye on how the device is being used; learn and bear in mind that posture is a key determinant of how any device is managed and how an aging parent will be able to mange balance, comfort, muscle strain, and a host of other factors.
The proper assistive mobility device can give your aging loved one much more independence. All the more reason to get the right one, and use it the right way!