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What to Do When Your Elderly Parent Can’t Walk

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A young woman helping a smiling senior man get up from an armchair.

When a parent is living with mobility issues, it’s perfectly natural to try and do everything you can to help. After all, your parent deserves unconditional love and support, and they’ve done so much over the years! By learning how to help a parent struggling with mobility problems, you can make a difference and help improve their quality of life.

When an elderly parent can’t walk, it helps to:

  • Create a safe environment
  • Make home modifications
  • Use assistive devices

However, there may be a point where it’s no longer safe for your parent to stay home. If this is the case, a move to senior living may be the right choice.

The Effect of Mobility Issues

When thinking about mobility problems, some people look at them as nothing more than a minor inconvenience that makes it difficult to get around. However, this isn’t quite the case.

Your mobility has a bigger impact on your quality of life than you might think at first. It lets you stay independent and navigate the world with ease and comfort. So when a parent has a problem with their mobility, it isn’t just about convenience—it’s about the significant impact these problems can have on your quality of life.

Restricted mobility can lead to:

  • Loss of independence
  • Social isolation
  • Increased risk of falls
  • Mental health challenges
  • Difficulty in maintaining personal hygiene
  • Issues with performing daily tasks
  • Severe pain or discomfort

This is why it’s so important to learn how to help a parent living with mobility issues. This way, you can intervene to make some changes and help improve their overall quality of life.

Create a Safe Environment

The first step should be to make sure your parent is safe. Try to make a point to visit their home, and take some time to make sure that everything is accommodating. They should be able to feel safe in their own home, so try to look for potential hazards like:

  • Loose rugs or carpets that could cause tripping
  • Cluttered pathways
  • Poor lighting
  • Unsecured furniture
  • Slippery bathroom floors
  • Lack of accessible storage
  • Uneven flooring

Then, try to address these problems as promptly as you can. You can replace rugs with non-slip mats, and clear out any of the major pathways so they’re much easier to navigate. If possible, try to make everyday items significantly more accessible. Though it can take some time to get used to a new layout in their home, it can help keep your parent safe—especially if they live alone!

Make Home Modifications

Once you know that the standard layout of the home is safe, it’s time to make some modifications. This way, you can create a safe and easily accessible home environment that caters to your loved one’s unique mobility capabilities.

Think about the following modifications:

  • Installing grab bars in the bathroom, particularly near the shower and toilet.
  • Replacing traditional doorknobs with lever handles for easier use.
  • Adding ramps to entrances with steps.
  • Ensuring floors are smooth and free of obstacles.
  • Using stairlifts for multi-story homes.
  • Placing frequently used items within easy reach.
  • Installing raised toilet seats and bath benches.

These preventive measures are essential to creating a safe environment!

Use Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can be a game-changer for improving your loved one’s mobility, independence, and overall quality of life.

These tools come in a variety of types, each designed to tackle different mobility challenges. Here are some assistive devices to consider:

  • Walking aids, like canes and walkers, to give them stability while navigating their home
  • Wheelchairs and scooters, to offer freedom of movement outdoors
  • Lift chairs, to make it significantly easier to go from sitting to standing
  • Grab bars and rails throughout the home, to make it easier to use the shower, bathroom, and other high-risk areas

Incorporating these assistive devices into your parent’s life can do wonders for improving their quality of life. It helps return to them a certain degree of independence while reducing the risk of accidents—and this is an incredible thing.

When Is It Time for Senior Living?

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, managing your parent’s mobility issues may require professional assistance. Even if you’ve made significant changes to your loved one’s everyday life, their safety should be paramount, so it’s crucial to recognize that it’s no longer safe for them to stay home.

A female nurse helps a senior woman with her walker in senior living.

Try to look out for the following signs:

  • Frequent falls or injuries
  • Significant weight loss or changes in health
  • Difficulty managing medications or medical appointments
  • Increasing social isolation or loneliness
  • Growing difficulty with daily living activities, despite modifications and support

When these signs become clear, it’s time to consider a move to senior living. It’s about more than just mobility—it’s about keeping your parent safe in a community tailored to meet their needs.

Let Our Team Help

Sometimes, we all need a hand, and that’s entirely okay. And our team at Landmark Crossing at Southgate is here for you and your parent. In our community, we can meet your parent’s unique needs in an accommodative caregiving environment to improve their quality of life. Schedule a tour with us today, and let our team help your family!

Written by Angela Clark

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