How do I convince my mother that it is time to use a walker?

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I'm noticing that my mother is getting more and more unsteady. I always have to hold her hand whenever we walk anywhere. Yesterday as we were coming out of the elevator, she just stood against the back railing and was waiting for me to grab her hand. She usually starts to move towards me since I go out first then reach for her hand. Well, as a result, the elevator door started to close and hit her on the arm. She looked at me like it was my fault. Same thing when I'm in her apartment, she acts like she can't walk alone from the living room to the kitchen, which is about 8 feet, yet she must do it on her own when I'm not there. I feel she acts more like a child when I'm around, but at the same time, I try to explain to her that if she fell, she might not be able to live alone anymore. She has a few issues going on; pain in her knee, mild Parkinson's Disease, and swollen ankles. We are gong to the cardiologist tomorrow, so maybe that can be remedied, but I had to fight her tooth and nail to get her to go. Ugh!

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I think that's her doctor's job, not yours.

I don't think our parents EVERY start to think of us as "real" adults who might know what's best for them. Whenever there has been something that my mom has needed to be told, we've always been more successful if one of her healthcare providers tells her or if we can arrange for her to think it was her idea.
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Falls are the worst.They can change everything in a heartbeat.Maybe something has scared your Mom like her knee giving out with no warning or maybe she has already fallen and didn't tell anyone.I'm sure she feels safe with your hand to hold.She is lucky to have you and your care for her.I hope you can convince her somehow that a fall,just one fall can do ALOT of damage.Take care~
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We had to use a different approach. My sister brought the walker home and adjusted it for our mom's height. It was just always there and eventually our mom tried it out. We also refused to take her out without it, as our own safety was now at risk. Since we would no doubt be injured if we tried to stop her from falling, we now had the right to require her to use the walker and keep us all safe.
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CTT, totally off topic, but some family members and mom's doctor all thought she needed "social support" and "this is stuff mom is doing to herself".

We got mom into Independent Living, where she saw a geriatric psychiatrist on a regular basis to manage her anxiety. Psychiatrist insisted that mom have neurocognitive testing (mom was "sharp as a tack" as far as family could see).

Mom was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. The MCI (and the attendant anxiety) was the result of a stroke, seen on brain imaging, but never diagnosed in the past. Big wake up call for all of us.
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My mother fussed a lot about using a seat belt when they first came out. But once it became a law with a fine for non compliance she simply buckled up without comment. My brother explained that he might have to pay a fine if they were stopped.

I wonder if inventing a rule might help in this case. "The insurance company will increase your premium if you are seen not using your walker outside your home."
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My mother used to have magical thinking in that her impaired walking Post Answer
ability was only temporary. And that (as she tells everyone) it's "all in my head!" She prefers to walk hanging onto someone's arm when she's out. Didn't want to listen that it was unsafe. No good deed goes unpunished, of course. She says that she can't possibly "impose upon" other people to put her walker in their car, so I'm the one who has to drive her to church most weeks.

The PT was the one who told her she must always have the walker when she leaves her condo. My mother never would have listened to me.

(Oh, and the elevator...does anyone else have the ridiculous scenario I have when my mother encounters an elevator? I must leap into the elevator ahead of her to keep pushing the Door Open button. She panics that the door will shut on her. I also have to hear her admonition to not look down the shaft at the crack (there is nothing to see; it's dark!). Yep...just another of many anxieties and "rules" I must obey...yet her doctor "doesn't like to put older patients on anti-anxiety meds." All she needs is "social support.")

In her condo, she likes to stagger down her hallway with no cane or walker. "See! I'm just fine and don't need anything!"

Someday she will fall, and that will the end of her "independent" life.
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brdlvr1, I agree that a doctor or physical therapist should be the ones to convince Mom she needs to use a walker or a cane. And she should definitely have a PT session to learn how to use it correctly.

Parkinson's can definitely cause problems with walking. It can also involve dementia. Not everyone with PD has dementia, but a large percentage do, so a medical evaluation of that might be in order. One manifestation of that kind of dementia is a problem with depth perception. A doorway threshold can look like a huge step to get over. The difference between the floor in the hallway and the floor in the elevator can be frightening. Sometimes a shiny floor looks like it has water on it. All these perceptions can cause issues with walking. And these issues don't go away with a walker or cane.

Using a walker or cane is not a guarantee to prevent falls. The National Center for Injury Prevention states that up to 47,300 people each year over 65 go to the ER due to a fall with a walking aid. In addition to convincing your mom to use a walker you'll have to remind her about using it correctly. (Or, better yet, a medical person should do the reminding, which you can just repeat.)

In the house, many elderly do "furniture walking" -- placing their hand on the back of this chair, leaning a little against the wall, touching the dresser, etc. They get used to certain pathways they feel safe with. Using a walker means giving up this safe path and the transition may be difficult.

The resistance to using a walker may involve a lot more than stubbornness or the wish not to appear "old."
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Well BarbBrooklyn, I tried to get her to a geriatric doctor for an initial visit since she just moved near me, and she was so nasty to the doctor, that the doctor told her that she wasn't obligated to take her as a patient. She's adamant that all she wants to see is a cardiologist, and even that was met with an "Oh no!" when I told her the appt. was tomorrow. The geriatric doctor did look at her ears because I told her she was losing her hearing, and it turned out they were blocked with wax. She prescribed some drops for them then had her come in to remove the wax. She also refused to have a blood test or another appt. for a checkup. Well lo and behold, about 3 weeks ago she asked how I knew she didn't need hearing aids and that her ears were clogged, and I told her it was the geriatric Doctor that saw it. She just smirked. My mom is going to be tough going when it comes to medical care and listening to me for anything! I hope the cardiologist at least says something.
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My aunt was nearly 102 when she was passed away, and truly was "as sharp as a tack."
She lived on her own until she was over 95 years old. One of the ways that she was able to be so self-sufficient was that she told me that she knew that she had to give up a little independence in order to remain independent.
She was the one who told me that she needed to use a cane. A few years later she told me that she needed to use a walker. Somewhere along the way she set set up getting help through a local organization that provided light housekeeping and help with her showers. She was a wise woman - I hope some of her wisdom filtered down to me.
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Does she use a cane? If not, that might be a good temporary solution. I would talk to her doctor, and explain what happened. Depending on her insurance, she may qualify for one on wheels with a seat like my Grandmother uses. Explain to her that it will help her balance, and when her knee hurts she can sit down. I had to fight my Grandma tooth and nail also to use one, but as soon as she had it she loved it. She calls it her go cart.
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