Customers: We’re here to support you through this challenging time. Learn more.

Is a Wheelchair Right for My Loved One?

Is a Wheelchair Right for My Loved One?

Growing older isn’t always easy, and taking care of an aging relative can be challenging. Often, deciding to make the move to a wheelchair can take an even greater emotional toll. Even if Mom or Dad has learned to get around with a cane, sometimes there comes a point when it becomes too difficult for them to move around the house on their own. A wheelchair can be an excellent solution for enhancing their mobility and ability to perform everyday tasks.

When people see a wheelchair user, they might mistakenly think the person is paralyzed or incapable of taking even a few steps. However, this is rarely the case. In fact, it’s common for people to use a wheelchair in response to mobility issues and heart conditions. Approximately 3 percent of Americans age 65 and up use wheelchairs — that’s about 900,000 people nationwide. Many of these seniors depend on a chair due to the lingering effects of stroke or osteoarthritis, according to the UCSF Medical Center Disability Statistics Center. For people who become unduly tired when they walk or who are at high risk for falling, wheelchairs can actually help aid independence and freedom — and in turn improve quality of life.

According to the Medicare website, wheelchairs are appropriate for anyone whose health makes it difficult for them to get around at home in a safe and effective way. By using wheelchairs, seniors with mobility issues can better take care of themselves. This includes tasks such as using the restroom, getting dressed, and preparing food. Medicare will even pay for a wheelchair in some cases. The doctor will likely have to write a prescription for it and state that it is necessary in order to complete daily living activities.

If you are considering a wheelchair because your loved one is at an increased risk for falls, a medical alert service may also be a good choice. This is especially true if he or she will still be walking frequently when home alone. Medical alert systems are designed to provide your senior with access to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at the press of a help button.

While it can be an emotional time, there are many benefits for senior wheelchair users and their caregivers. These can include added independence at home for the senior and less reliance on others for help with daily tasks.

See also
Caregivers

Caregivers

Are you caring for an aging parent or loved one? At times, it can be stressful, but you are not on your own! Try our expert advice for managing family issues, keeping mom independent and more. more

Healthcare Pros

Healthcare Pros

Whether you’re a nurse, case worker, doctor or another healthcare professional, you know aging patients have unique needs. Explore our resources for working with this growing population. more

Seniors

Seniors

We all get older, but how you do it is up to you. We have articles and tools to help you live independently and enjoy life the way you want to, as well as other important topics as you age. more