How do you get a man (88) to use a walker?


My Dad refuses to use the walker, both his knees are bad and need to be replaced but he is beyond surgery and wouldn't have it anyway. He has fallen a few times, don't know what to do with him, VERY stubborn. Any suggestions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


One thing to do is to buy him a really cool rollator walker which has four wheels, a seat, a basket under the seat, and the cool thing is the hand brakes. Once my Dad saw that walker you'd think I had bought him a Shelby Mustang. And once he learned how to us it, off he went, you couldn't slow him down. I had bought him one in a bright blue color.... they comes in a variety of colors.

Then ask your Dad how do the brakes work, even you know how they work. He will figure it out and proudly tell you how the rolling walker works :) Hey, most guys like mechanical type stuff.
Helpful Answer (2)

This is where tough love comes into play. Sometimes they're being manipulative and controlling, wanting the attention and encouragement to reinforce their concern that they're still cared for, although it's by this rather convoluted means.

If you're past the coaxing and pleading stage, you can do as the previous posters suggest. Tell him firmly you can't take care of him if he falls, if he breaks a leg or both, or his hips, and that you'd just have to have him stay in rehab, then perhaps move to another facility that could take care of him.

Remind him he has a choice; he can use a walker or rollator (which I prefer) and ENABLE himself to continue some level of independence and safety, or he can choose a less enlightened approach and endanger himself, in which case he might have to have much more support (at more cost) to continue to be mobile.

If he's really, really stubborn, you could also start calling various AL or IL facilities and ask about placement, mentioning that he has mobility problems and needs help to get around. Sometimes that provokes a reaction in stubborn people to make them want to prove they can be mobile, and they become less resistant.

Another thing you can do is ask his doctor for a script for PT, at home or at a facility. He can be taught how to strengthen his balance and legs and how to try to minimize falls.

And upgrading the support in the house with grab bars, removal of throw rugs and other trip hazards can help as well.
Helpful Answer (1)

Kimber is right. Tell him you will NOT pick him up. I had to do the same with my MIL.
Helpful Answer (0)

That's right. You might remind him of the consequences of a fall and fracture.

When my dad used to threaten to go on top of the house to clean the gutters, my mom and I would lose it. I would go ballistic. I even threatened to call the sheriff on him! lol I was bluffing, but I don't think he knew.

My mom told him that if he fell and broke his hip, leg, back, etc., that he would go to a nursing home and that would be it. She would not attempt to bring him home until he was fully recovered. He must believe she would do it, because he stopped climbing onto the roof. Oh, he was in his late 70's!
Helpful Answer (2)

My stepmom went through this with my dad. She told him she could no longer help him up if he falls - it hurts her back too much and that she would dial 911. He fell a couple of times and she held firm - called 911. The wait (they are rural) plus having the fuss of having responders out, checking him over, asking him if he wants to go to ER - he started to use the walker. Don't enable him.
Helpful Answer (5)

It's a tough thing to do. Sadly, we are limited in our ability to do this. I think it's a little easier if the person doesn't have dementia. Often dementia patients forget to use their walker and there simply is no way to make them remember unless they are constantly supervised.

With your dad, he's just being stubborn right? Will his doctor prescribe it and encourage him? Sometimes seniors just will not listen. I've seen that first hand.

Some other ideas are to try to keep things out of way like scatter rugs on the floor. I have read that having carpet on the floor reduces the number of fractures from falls. Grab bars might help.

What if you made a deal with him? What if you offered to pay him a sum of money per week if he will use one? Can you constantly supervise him? If you follow him around constantly, maybe he would agree to use the walker to get you off his back.

If it makes you feel any better, plenty of people who use walkers fall anyway. I have seen a person holding a walker fall backwards and would have fallen if I had not caught her. Sometimes it's also about poor balance and not just weak limbs.
Helpful Answer (1)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.