Exploring Senior Assistance Mobility Aids

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 formobility aids, senior assistance 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. A raised toilet seat allowed Dad to lower himself onto the toilet without injuring his foot or falling.
  5. A walk in shower had been installed years ago to prepare for Dad's senior years.
  6. 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.

--Mary Nix

4 Responses

  1. [...] presents Exploring Senior Assistance Mobility Aids posted at Elder Care [...]
  2. Great tips. We used many of them for my dad when his Parkinson's Disease progressed enough to need a walker. I ended up using a portable ramp that we could just screw into the threshold. Not terribly expensive and it was something I could install by myself :)<br><br>By the way, I reviewed a WalkerWonder at SandwichINK. This is a banner that goes onto the walker or rolling walker to personalize and spiff up your aging parent's walker :) They gave me one to give away and the contest ends tomorrow, 5/29/09. I'd love to have more people enter to win it. :) :) :) <br><br>Thanks again for the fun blog carnival. :)
  3. Regarding getting in and out of the car easier, im not sure a garbage bag would be the safest option, it would be worth considering one of those swivel cushions that can still easily be removed from the car seat when not needed.
  4. my mom uses a walker and recently ramps were installed to help her move to the outside of the house. Are walkers safe to use on ramps? Does anyone have tips about how to learn to use a walker on a ramp? thanks
  5. Your Message<a href="#comment-2085" rel="nofollow">@cathryn:</a> That is an excellent question. If you are able, I'd call the company who installed it and see if they happen to have instructions for how it should and shouldn't be used. Here Dr. might even recommend or prescribe a physical therapy session to learn how to use it. When you find out, will you please come back and share how this is progressing. I'm always amazed at the many tools available to help that may actually cause more harm without proper use. Mary