Watching our parents grow old is a challenge that no one is ever truly prepared for. It’s tough to see the role reversal of having the “adults” in our lives suddenly begin to depend upon us — we’ll still always feel like kids to our parents. But as difficult as the aging process can be — from both a personal and bystander perspective — it’s a process that’s downright scary if your loved one is in an unsafe environment.
The house your parents live in may very well be the one you grew up in, and it might not seem unsafe whatsoever. After all, you all lived there for years without any issues. But as we get older, our bodies lose their strength, muscle mass, and sense of balance. All of these things can lead to an increase of falls — and with a decrease in bone density, a tumble can end up being more precarious than ever before.
However, there’s great news to be shared. Able Care Group has stairlifts (as well as wheelchair lifts, ramps, elevators, and more) to help Mom or Dad get around the house in a safe manner. Wondering if it’s time your parents get a stairlift installation? This is the blog post for you. Take a look at the signs that it’s time to install a stairlift in your parents’ home, and contact Able Care Group in New Jersey and New York for a free quote today.
You’ve Noticed Changes in Their Coordination
As your parent is getting older, be on the lookout for changes in their mobility and overall coordination. It might be relatively slight (and if you see your parents frequently, it could very well seem imperceptible), such as struggling to cut up some vegetables or taking longer to get in and out of a chair. They might be genuinely struggling to walk, particularly up a set of steps or a longer distance.
Whenever you start noticing these changes, it’s probably a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor. More than likely, the doctor will explain that this is a part of growing older, but it’s good to rule out any larger, underlying issues that may exist. A doctor will also be able to give you and your loved one tips on preventing falls, and could offer any insights as to the value of a stairlift.
But regardless, if your loved one starts experiencing some changes in their coordination, it’s definitely a sign that they might be at higher risk for serious falls, and that a stairlift installation should be considered. Preventative measures are always preferable to dealing with the consequences later.
They’re Struggling to Pass These Three Tests
Changes in gait can seem like a small thing, but they’re usually indicative of a larger problem — and usually a sign that your loved one could benefit from getting a stairlift. Here are three things to look for in your loved one (and feel free to ask them to perform these tests as they are able):
- Climbing up 10 steps: If your parent is struggling to go up 10 steps, whether for health or physical reasons, installing a stairlift is likely a good idea.
- Walking a quarter of a mile: Go for a walk with your loved one and see how they’re doing — if a quarter of a mile is proving to be a challenge, there’s a good chance that going up and down stairs could be difficult, let alone dangerous.
- Walking faster than a yard per second: If you notice your parent walking slower than this, it could indicate a problem with their gait. As Harvard Health explains, “ Dr. Salamon likes the Get Up and Go Test, where she asks a person to stand up from sitting in a chair, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back to the chair, and sit down.” Struggling to do this in a normal pace could mean that your parent is at increased risk for falls.
With these tests, you very well might not need to take your parent to the doctor — you can have them perform them in their own home. This should point to any issues in mobility, and if you see any things to cause worry, it’s a great idea to call Able Care Group to ask about a stairlift installation.
“Mother is 93, and I thought it was good exercise for her to be pulling herself up the stairs. Two days after stairlift installed, she could not come down stairs walking. Don’t know what we would have done if [the stairlift] wasn’t there!”
– Lorraine, proud Able Care Group customer
They’re Recovering From an Illness or Injury
Colds can leave us out of it for a few days when we’re young; they can wreak havoc on our bodies when we’re older. We’re much more susceptible to illnesses and injuries in our older age, and unfortunately, they usually take longer to recover from.
Whether your parent is getting over pneumonia, radiation treatments, or their most recent hip replacement, a stairlift is a great idea to keep them safe while they’re recuperating — it could even help speed up the recovery process, solely by allowing for more rest and less strenuous activity. And as an added bonus, even if they go back to using the stairs, they’ll still have a protective measure in place for when they’re older, or if/when they’re recovering from an illness or injury again in the future.
They’re Avoiding the Stairs
It could be seeing that they’ve been sleeping on the couch, it could be they have no idea when they’ve last been in the basement, but if you can tell your parent is steering clear of the steps, it’s a sign they’re uncomfortable going up and down the stairs. If they’re uncomfortable with the stairs, it’s likely because they feel more at risk for a fall. Be on the lookout for areas of the house that aren’t being attended to, and look into if mobility or lack of accessibility might be playing a role.
You can solve this problem (and all of these issues) by going ahead and installing a stairlift with Able Care Group. Our stairlifts ensure safe transportation in an easy-to-operate manner, so that you won’t have to worry about your parents when you’re not around to help. Our mobility specialists will also walk you and your loved one through every step until you both feel comfortable using it. They’ll appreciate the help and support, and you’ll appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing they’ll be OK. Contact us to set up a stairlift installation today.