If you have a senior parent who lives independently, it is important that you take the time to look for cues that they may be experiencing mobility issues. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your parent must show obvious signs of impairment such as those seen after a stroke or serious fall. Overlooking signs that your aging parent may need mobility aids could place them at risk for injuries. The following are signs that may not be as easy to recognize if you have a busy lifestyle or your parent is not forthcoming with discussing changes in their mobility.
If you notice bruises on your parent, it is important to inquire about the nature of the bruising. This is because bruising that is the result of a fall or bumping into things may be a sign of a potential vision or gait issue. Eyeglasses or assisted walking devices could correct this issue.
Look for signs of confusion while discussing this important matter with your parent. If they cannot remember how they got the bruises, it could be a sign of a memory problem such as early dementia. It is a good idea to follow-up with a doctor when seniors show signs of bruising due to the possibility of fractures as a result of brittle bones. A doctor can also determine whether simple mobility aids such as canes could benefit your parent.
Changes in Hygiene or Cleaning Habits
If you notice changes in your parent's personal appearance or the cleanliness of their home, it may be the result of them finding it difficult to move around. Inquire about whether or not they are having difficulties. Your parent may not volunteer this information to you out of fear of worrying you, or they may be afraid of their declining mobility.
Therefore, look for your own cues. For example, if your parent has a multi-level house, and they have stopped using the upper level despite it being the area where bedrooms are located, it may a sign that they are afraid to use the stairs or find them difficult to navigate. A stair chair lift could benefit an individual in this situation. You may want to consider temporarily hiring someone or getting family members to help with tasks while you explore mobility aid options.
A mobility specialist is a good resource to use if you identify a possible need for mobility aids. They can help you determine the best products to keep your parent safe. For example, if your parent lives in a home with stairs, a stair lift may be recommended to ensure they can get up and down the stairs safely. Stair lifts can be customized with features such as a wheelchair option to accommodate wheelchairs and allow individuals to safely move up and down stairs.