How To Help Your Aging Parent Get Used To Using a Cane
Posted by ELIZABETH CARROLL
As our parents get older, there comes a time when we need to step up and start caring for them, just as they cared for us when we were babies. Seniors are known to be stubborn at times, but we must remain persistent with them for their benefit.
Unfortunately, a leading cause of death and injury for seniors is falling. Using a cane improves balance and allows greater mobility freedom, but not all seniors like using them. When the time comes, here is how to help your aging parent get used to using a cane.
Find Professional Consultation
Your parent might take your word for it, but odds are they will feel skeptical unless you have a medical degree. From their perspective, you are a child, no matter your age.
A doctor or licensed professional adds legitimacy to your suggestion to start using a cane. Doctors must have a trustworthy relationship with their patients, and your parent’s doctor is no different.
If you notice that your parent grabs chairs, walks with their hands against the wall, groans after every step they take, or otherwise seems shaky when they walk, they may have balance issues. When they insist that they don’t need help walking, finding a professional to say it bluntly is not only more effective, but it takes a weight off your shoulder from having to tell them the bad news.
The diploma does not lie, and if your parent hears the words coming from the doctor’s lips, it will tempt them into abiding by the doctor’s recommendations. A professional assessment solidifies your hunches and demonstrates to your parent the facts of the situation.
After their doctor performs some straightforward exams to measure balance and movement ability, they will test their reflexes. Then, the doctor will ask your parent some questions. They will ask if your parent noticed any pain in their joints, weakness in their muscles, or instances of dizziness recently.
All these ascertain whether balance and mobility are affected or if psychological factors are at work. A complete assessment from a trusted physician undeniably helps shape your parent’s convictions about using a cane. In addition, it would open their mind to using mobility aid if they were initially hesitant.
Negotiate With Your Parent To Reach a Compromise
Even after receiving a professional opinion, some parents will still resist. They might deny their doctor’s prognosis, avoid following their advice, and resist the doctor’s recommended treatment options.
Making a deal with your parent is sometimes the only way to get them to come around to the idea of using a cane. One way to convince them is by telling them they only have to use it around the house and don’t need it in public. This gives your parent a sense of autonomy and shields them from possible embarrassment.
Since no one is looking, appearances don’t matter, and it helps them walk faster and more reliably. So, any excuses that your parents still have are inferior to the benefits gained from using a cane, even if it’s only at home.
After getting used to walking with a cane around the house, your parent might grow comfortable with using it in public. As it becomes a part of their everyday life, your parent will have a more difficult time letting go of their cane, and resistance will dissipate.
They will make a habit out of using the cane when the hesitation subsides. Make sure you avoid common mistakes when buying a cane, such as inaccurate measurements of your parent’s height. During the mobility assessment, your parent’s doctor or physical therapist will most likely recommend the best type of cane for their condition.
Present Your Facts Accurately and Respectfully
Suppose you still struggle to convince your parent to use a cane, even if it’s just for walking around the house. There are ways to make your argument more persuasive.
First, assemble a sizable amount of research on how many seniors injure themselves from a fall and organize it for your parent to read. A sizable proportion of seniors break their hip from a fall every year, many of whom pass away within six months of the injury.
Second, if your parent knows friends and other family members who suffered from a fall, make a list of them. Third, you can make another list of any friends or relatives who already use a cane, bolstering your case.
When you approach your parent to discuss the subject, make sure they are attentive but not overwhelmed. They are more likely to concur with your opinions if they are relaxed when you bring up the issue.
Finally, making sure you surround all the facts you present with expressions of love will show your parent that you are not attempting to belittle them. Show that you are concerned for their well-being and want to do what’s right.
Showcase the Different Styles of Canes Available on the Market
Your parent could have a vision of canes that is a little outdated. However, if you show them that there are many different styles, colors, and patterns that modern walking canes come in, they will find one to their liking.
Whether a classic wood finish or modern steel suits their fancy, there is a style and color for everyone. You can also highlight some features of the different walking sticks for sale, like ergonomic handles, a collapsible design for storage, and other adjustable options.
It’s challenging enough figuring out how to help your aging parent get used to using a cane, but with hostility from your loved one on top of that, it can feel impossible. Your parent could resist anything that aids in preventing falls for two reasons. The first is that they think that using it comes at the expense of their independence.
The other reason is that by choosing to use it, they admit they are getting older. Despite grey hair and wrinkles on their face, many older people still feel young at heart and deny their age’s impact on their lives. Whatever the case, they can find a cane that suits them and keeps them safe.