Last year my 88 year old Dad fell and broke his leg. His recovery included an inflatable cast and the requirement that he put no weight on it for six weeks. As the ER physician was telling us Dad should be able to hop up the steps once home, my mind began to ponder how we would help Dad maneuver around with his cast once home. We made a list of the senior assistance mobility aides we owned and needed, but in retrospect, the number one resource on the list was the in-home physical therapist. He assessed Dad's capabilities, offered home safety solutions and taught Dad how to use his senior assistance mobility aides properly. He also provided moral support and friendship during a time that Dad felt somewhat trapped by his circumstances.
Here is the therapist's list:
- A walker helped Dad to move about the house, but he was tiring easily and bumping into walls. The therapist switched the wheels from the outside to the inside to avoid the walls. Next, he adjusted the height to meet Dad's needs as it was previously used by another family member. He also taught Dad how to use it without hurting his shoulders and arms.
- A wheelchair allowed Dad to maneuver about the house when he was just too tired to walk. We also used it to transport Dad in and out of the house.
- A wheelchair ramp was a necessity to get Dad in and out of the house. After looking at several, we ended up having one built that could be used again if needed.
- A raised toilet seat allowed Dad to lower himself onto the toilet without injuring his foot or falling.
- A walk in shower had been installed years ago to prepare for Dad's senior years.
- A garbage bag was the simplest and least expensive tool suggested by the therapist. It was used on the seat of the car and provided just enough slickness to help Dad ease in and out of the car.
Knowing how to use these senior assistance mobility aides enabled Dad to remain at home instead of having to stay in a nursing home to heal. The physical therapist's visits and exercises also helped Dad to keep his muscles moving so that when he was able to put weight on his leg, he still had the strength to do so.
Do you care for an aging parent who needs mobility aides? Do you have any tips,tricks or your own story to tell? Please leave a comment below and don't forget to sign up for our RSS Feed.