Growing older requires us to get accustomed to more than a few changes. Our children mature and move away. We may decide to sell the family home and scale down. Retiring from a long-lasting occupation alters our purpose and goals. And, people with mobility issues or health problems may end up needing a wheelchair.
This particular adjustment can be extremely daunting. A lifetime of walking, running, jumping, and dancing has now been traded in for a more sedentary lifestyle. It’s obvious what a challenge this will be, and what an issue it can be for someone’s sense of independence.
How Do You Assist a Senior Who Is Newly Wheelchair-Bound?
If senior mobility issues have necessitated that a loved one use a wheelchair, they will need your help and encouragement to work through the many feelings that may come with this change. Fear, embarrassment, anger, and despair are common. The following tips from our Manchester caregiver experts can help.
- Listen. Make yourself available to the older adult and allow them to share with you how they’re feeling. It’s crucial that you let them know they are heard and understood, without endeavoring to “fix” anything or come across as judgmental or condescending. Acknowledge that their thoughts and feelings about the changes in their mobility are valid.
- Stay positive. After letting the senior share as much as they’d like, try to carefully shift the focus of the conversation to what they still can do and what they have not lost. Talk through and establish some new objectives that the older adult would like to achieve, regardless of how small they may seem. If adding in a bit of humor is appropriate, shared laughter can be very healing. Understand that a measure of patience will likely be necessary for both of you as the senior experiences and handles new frustrations.
- Research adaptive equipment. There are plenty gadgets and tech tools available to help increase comfort, independence, and safety for people who use wheelchairs. There are simple home modifications you can make right away as well, like moving commonly-used objects to lower cupboards and shelves that the senior can easily reach and reconfiguring furniture to create accessible pathways.
- Keep your relationship the same. Despite this external change, the senior remains the same on the inside. It’s important to treat them the same as always. Your inclination might be to take charge and do as much as possible for the senior in order to make life easier for them, but you may end up doing more harm than good. Allowing the individual to maintain self-sufficiency is crucial to their wellbeing.
For Home With You Senior Care, helping seniors with mobility issues is one of our many specialties! Our top-rated Manchester caregiver experts can provide a complimentary evaluation to make suggestions for alterations to the home that will make it easier for an older adult in a wheelchair to live independently. We can also provide a wide array of personalized in-home care services to assist the senior in whatever way is needed. Call us at 410-756-0959 for more information. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities we serve.