How do I convince my grandmother to use a walker or similar device?


First, I have just discovered this community and am quite grateful for all your shared experiences -- thank you!

My 93yo grandmother lives independently. I live within a couple hours' drive and visit monthly. She is still very sharp, very stubborn, and remains the grandmother and mother who refuses help from anyone. Being her grand-daughter, as opposed to her child, I'm able to broach subjects with her that her two sons cannot, including exercise and other health issues. She'll listen to me and not her sons. That said, I find myself in a critical position to convince her of the benefits of a mobility device, which she desperately needs.

She is generally in good health, but she has an awful arthritic knee that results in her shuffling. It's part pain and part poor balance from blood pressure medications. She's terrified of falling. My grandmother desperately strives to maintain her elegance and dignity. She's the type of woman who carries her cane -- let's just leave it at that!

She still desires to travel, and even has a trip in a couple months she's looking forward to. But her lack of mobility and stubbornness are really the only things holding this woman back from continuing to life a full life. As an example of her condition, when she's in the grocery store using a cart -- whereby she doesn't have to carry her purse and has something firm to grasp that rolls -- she will walk normally (and quickly!).

My question: how can I "convince" her to try these devices? Are there ones that I can "sell" to her not as walkers, but as bag-carriers, for example? Honestly, if it looks like a walker she won't touch it...

Many Thanks!

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My approach was much the same as 3pinkroses:" if you feel "dependent" using a walker, think about life in a wheelchair after a fall."
This needn't be said in a negative way, but a matter-of-fact reminder of the consequences of falls can sometimes overcome the vanity of someone not wanting to seem "old" and/or disabled enough to use a cane or a walker.
There are some fashionable canes if a cane is all that's needed, but it's best if the elder can get over the idea that needing a walking aid is somehow demeaning. Positive reinforcement is wonderful!
As with so many things, there's only so much a caregiver can control. But laying out the potential consequences of taking unnecessary risks can help drive home a point. Good luck,
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My MIL was a carbon copy of your grandmother with respect to not wanting to use a walker, but desperately needed it. She would even use a walking stick outside as it "looked better than a cane". And she walked around her house grabbing on to furniture, rather than use the cane. When they are this stubborn; it is extremely difficult to persuade them to use a walker.

She only used the walker when she came to live with us as we insisted on it and could prove to her on a daily basis how much better she walked and her posture was soooo much better; and she agreed! I also would constantly tell her of the ramifications of not using a walker, i.e. falling and becoming bedridden. I told her stories of people falling, etc. and how they became housebound, but could have prevented a fall by using a walker, etc.

Maybe someone on here will have some advice; but, when they don't live with you and are extremely independent and stubborn; they don't listen. That has been my experience, anyway. Good luck.
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My mom is only 70, She lives on the 3rd floor in a condo with 3 flights of stairs. When we are out and about her legs give out and she runs into me or even worse other people. She runs into parked cars and uses everything she can as she walks a long. If she concentrates and walks slow she is better blaming little things a long the way for her . She REFUSES a cane or anything stating walking is good for her, and she doesn't want to rely on the cane. She is stubborn and mean when we try to talk to her about the consequences. She thinks that if she has a cane she will fall anyway and it will hurt her more. I am at wits end, she won't let anyone help her up or down especially me. (Im the baby @
45) None of the other kids care for her as a result of her stubbornness and unwillingness to see anyone else's side. I know her life so I understand why she is the way she is and just try to be here . But I worry about her, and I worry either she will run into someone not so nice or worse hurt her self. are all in other states so there is not much choice
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Last month I bought my Dad a rolling walker, one that has a wire basket, fold down seat and handbrakes.... at first he was reluctant to use it, but now it's the best thing since sliced bread. He wished he had one last year because of his arthritic knee.

Last time I took my parents to a doctor appointment, once in the medical building Dad was already down the wall, sitting in his walker waiting for my Mom [she uses a cane] and me to reach his location. He had a big smile on his face. I told Dad he will need to put racing stripes on that walker :)

These roller walkers come in all different colors, like bright pink, purple, red, green, blue, etc. your grandmother would be the envy of her peer group !!
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^^^ oops, I just realized the original post was from back in 2012. I hope Banana was able to convince her grandmother to use a walker :)
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When mom was more mobil we found a 3 wheeled walker from drive that had large wheels and hand breaks and folded easily to go on the car. This was great and mom zipped along with it. Everyone who saw it thought it was cool ( because of only 3 wheels) and always stopped and talked to her. Sadly, since her hip surgeries she is unable to use a rollator any more as she leans so hard on the walker and can't keep up with it.
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