Helping an Aging Parent Cope with a Loss of Mobility

A loss of independence can create feelings of frustration for many elderly people. Here are some tips for helping an aging parent cope with a loss of mobility.

A loss of mobility can create frustration and feelings of uselessness for many elderly people. Simple activities, such as grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments, may seem like impossible tasks. Mobility problems include unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair, and muscle weakness or joint problems. Often, mobility problems occur at one time and combine to seriously affect mobility.

These symptoms may indicate that seniors are beginning to experience a loss of mobility:

  • Forgetting day-to-day tasks
  • Missing appointments
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Trouble getting in and out of the bathtub
  • Unable to walk long distances
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Less physical energyand flexibility

While nothing can fully minimize the fear and anguish that comes with a loss of mobility, there are things that you can do to help an aging parent cope with a loss of mobility. Since many older adults have been used to caring for others throughout their lives, they are uncomfortable receiving help from others.

How can you help an aging parent, spouse, or loved one deal with a loss of mobility?

  • Be patient. It may take time for your loved one to  accept the aging process and acknowledge their loss of mobility.
  • Encourage your loved one to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family.
  • Help your loved one understand  that a loss of mobility is a common as people age and is  not a sign of personal failure.

Once someone becomes more comfortable accepting help from others, they can devote their time and energy to enjoying new experiences.  For seniors experiencing a loss of mobility, receiving help should be viewed as a necessary ingredient to achieving a rich and full life.