Making the switch from a basic walker to a wheelchair can be daunting for seniors with limited mobility. It’s important to know when your aging parent needs an aid vehicle and to be there to support them through the transition. Check how to choose the right wheelchair for your elderly parent and how to support them when they are getting used to their new life.
The Common Signs When Your Parent Should Switch From a Walker to a Wheelchair
Get ready so that your aging parents may not want to give up their independence, or they may be afraid of the unfamiliarity of the vehicle. Here are some common signs that it’s time for your parents to consider a foldable wheelchair for elderly users or something similar.
- They’re having difficulty using a walker. If your parent is struggling to walk even with a walker, it’s time to consider a wheelchair.
- They’re experiencing pain while walking. If your parent is in pain every time they try to walk, even with a walker, it’s time to make a switch. This will help them avoid further injury and pain.
- They’re losing balance often. If your parent is constantly losing balance and falling, a wheelchair will help them stay upright and avoid injury.
- They’re getting less active. If your parent is no longer able to participate in activities they enjoy because of their limited mobility, it may be time to switch to an aid vehicle.
What to Look for When Choosing the First Wheelchair for Aging Parents?
When you’re looking for the perfect wheelchair for your parent, there are a few factors to consider:
- Their weight and height. You’ll want to make sure the chair can support their weight and that they can reach the footrests comfortably.
- Their needs. You’ll want to choose a chair that meets their needs, whether it’s a manual or power wheelchair.
- Their budget. Wheelchairs can be expensive, so you’ll want to find one that fits your parent’s budget.
The Types of Wheelchairs for Adults You Should Consider
Wheelchairs for seniors can be manual or electric. Manual wheelchairs are less expensive but require more strength to propel. Electric wheelchairs are more expensive but provide a motorized option for those who can’t propel themselves.
Choose between a standard or foldable wheelchair for elderly users. Standard wheelchairs are less expensive but can be difficult to transport. While foldable wheelchairs are pricey but can be easily transported in a car.
Consider a lightweight travel wheelchair if your parent plans to travel often. These wheelchairs are easy to fold and transport but may be more expensive than a regular vehicle.
How to Get if the Wheelchair Is Right for Your Parent?
First, you’ll need to choose the proper vehicle size. To do this, you’ll need to measure your parent’s seat width, seat depth, back height, and overall height. You can also have your parent try out different chairs in a store before making a decision.
It’s essential to choose a wheelchair that is comfortable for your parent and provides adequate support. You should also make sure that the chair is adjustable so that it can be customized as your parent’s needs change.
How to Support Your Parents When They Switch From Walker to Wheelchair?
There are a few things you can do to support your aging parents:
- Be patient. It’s important to be patient with your parents as they adjust to their new mobility aid. The elderly may need some time to get used to the chair and how it works.
- Be supportive. Help your elderly parents with tasks that they may find difficult, such as bathing or dressing. You can also help them by doing things around the house, such as cooking or cleaning.
- Be encouraging. Encourage your lovely parents to stay active and engaged in their lives. Help them find activities that they enjoy and can do while in their wheelchair.
- Cheer them up all the time. As your parents adjust to their new mobility, they may be feeling down. It’s important to cheer them up and let them know that you’re there for them.
- Praise their efforts. As your parents learn to use their vehicle, praise their little victories. This will help them feel good about themselves and their abilities.
- Consult your parent’s therapist. As your parent is getting used to a wheelchair, be sure to consult their doctor. They will be able to give you specific tips and advice on how to help your parent during this time.
How to Make Your Home Wheelchair-Friendly?
When your aging parent stays at your place, you have to be sure they can move around in a wheelchair easily. Follow these handy tips on how to senior-proof your home:
- Clear walkways and hallways. Remove any obstacles that could block the path of a wheelchair.
- Install ramps. In case of steps leading up to your home, install a ramp so that it is easier for a parent in a wheelchair to get inside.
- Widen doorways. If doorways are too narrow, it may be difficult for someone in a wheelchair to get through them. You can widen doorways by removing door frames or adding extensions to them.
- Make sure rooms are accessible. If there are items that your parent needs but cannot reach, move them to a lower shelf or another location where they can be easily reached.
- Provide enough light inside and outside the home. This will help your parent see obstacles that may be in their way.
- Install grab bars. Grab bars can help your parent get in and out of a chair or wheelchair, and they can also help prevent falls.
- Add non-slip surfaces. Non-slip rugs can provide traction for someone in a wheelchair, and they can also help prevent falls.
Supporting your aging parents as they transition from a walker to a wheelchair is vital for your loved ones. Follow these handy tips above to help your elderly parents adjust to their new mobility aid and maintain their independence.