Do your aging parents need a walker? Often, older generations are too proud to admit that they need help. After many years of looking after others, they worry that a walker will remove their independence. However, leaving aging parents too long without the right help can do more harm to their bodies.
Attitude and Behavior
In many cases, relatives of aging people notice a change in attitude or behavior. For example, somebody who previously loved to take walks may start to dislike leaving the comfort of the sofa. If you find an older relative making excuses to not walk or to stay seated, this could signal a deeper problem.
Of course, not everybody who refuses a walk suddenly needs a walking frame with wheels. Therefore, it’s important to look for patterns. Get others who visit the elderly relative to try a walk with them too. If they refuse walking altogether, regardless of who asks, it might be time to act.
In serious cases, your relatives may retract themselves from their social circle. Sometimes, it’s not because they don’t want to see their friends. Instead, it’s because they aren’t comfortable moving around for long periods. Alternatively, it could be because they’re afraid of falling.
Although it might sound obvious, another sign that an aging parent needs a walker is if they experience lots of falls. While one or two falls are forgivable, you need to act if it occurs once a week. As they grow older, the body takes longer to heal after scrapes, grazes, and bruises. While you might recover from a fall within a couple of days, the same injuries can affect your elderly relative for a couple of weeks.
Keep an eye on your aging parents and listen to their stories, speak with neighbors and friends, and look for band-aids on legs and arms. Naturally, they will probably dismiss it as a simple fall. But this is dangerous when it happens too frequently. What if the next fall leads to a hit on the head? What if they experience serious damage while nobody is around to help?
If your aging parents have health problems, this is another reason to introduce a walker. For example, this includes:
- Weak bones or muscles
- Back pain
- Issues with vision
- Shortness of breath
- Heart issues
- Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Dementia
Sometimes, doctors recommend walkers for people taking certain medications too. If you’re in any doubt, speak with a medical professional and talk about your concerns. As soon as walking problems begin for elderly people, they often fear falling over. This comes back to the behavior and attitude changes mentioned previously; your elderly relative might even stop looking after themselves in terms of personal hygiene and household chores.
Convincing Aging Parents to Use a Walker
Some people reading this guide will already worry about the conversations this information might lead to in the future. You’ve decided that a parent probably needs a walker, but how do you introduce the topic? How do you encourage them that this is the right option?
Ultimately, you know your parents better than anybody, so you know which approach is right or wrong. Some people have found success by showing parents fall-related statistics, research, and articles. Meanwhile, others have frank conversations and explain the importance of parents looking after themselves.
Elsewhere, the solution might be to talk about the stigma attached to walkers, take your parents to the doctor, or even shop for walkers to show the personalization and design opportunities.