You’ve noticed lately that your elderly father’s balance and coordination aren’t what they used to be. Last week you had to take him to the E.R. because he fell at home (again) and sustained some cuts and bruises. You love your dad, and want him to continue aging independently in place for as long as possible.
Whenever you’ve tried to discuss getting an assistive device for him, like a walker, he gets defensive and says: “Those things are for old people!”. What should you do? Persuading an elderly parent that it’s time to use a walker isn’t easy. What follows are some creative ways to get them to agree.
Balance Difficulties Seniors Face
On average, once a person reaches age 55, their balance and coordination start to decline. As a result, their likelihood to experience an accidental fall increases- a risk that’s exacerbated by dementia or Alzheimer’s. Other medical conditions, illnesses, and certain medications can also compromise a senior’s balance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans 65-and-over account for these annual fall-related statistics:
- 1 in 3 seniors experience a fall.
- Falls are the most common trauma-related reason for hospital admissions, and lead to more nonfatal injuries in the elderly population, than any other cause.
- Every 11 seconds, a senior is treated in a hospital emergency room after falling.
- Every 19 minutes, an elderly person dies from fall-related injuries.
- Each year, seniors incur 2.8 million injuries, 800,000 hospitalizations, and over 27,000 fatalities related to falls.
Although many at-home seniors won’t admit it to others, they have a fear of falling that restricts their normal daily activities. Not engaging in some of those activities can result in diminished health, depression, feeling hopeless, and social isolation; all of which can jeopardize their at-home independence. When se