How to Start a Conversation About Mobility Part 1: Assessment

Discussing assisted living with your parents is never pleasant—for either party. Whether it’s broaching the topic of mobility issues, health, and decline, or money, these talks can’t help but remind the listener of their own mortality and age-related deterioration. But while the topic is a sensitive one, sometimes it’s a discussion that’s necessary. 

Time isn’t something we can run away from. Sooner or later, we all age, and that brings a plethora of changes with it. Physical decline is only natural as we go through our lives: as we gain strength in our youth, we lose it again in our old age. 

Age-related decline can result in a sort of role-reversal for parents and children and this seemingly-sudden change can be difficult to adjust to. Some elderly parents may be embarrassed by this, but as children, we care about them and want them to be safe. Be empathetic of how they must feel in their situation. 

While you can choose to bring up the topic of physical decline at any time—and in fact, it might not be a bad idea to touch on the subject briefly before gradually increasing the depth of the conversation—you may want to first assess whether or not your parent needs additional care. In this blog post, the first of two in this series, we share tips on how to gauge if your parents need extra help so you can be better prepared for the conversation to come.

Assessing Red Flags

Observe how they go about doing basic life tasks. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are tasks that are basic to our wellbeing and extreme difficulty performing these tasks can be a major indicator of the need for additional help. They may also point towards greater health issues that may need diagnosis or treatment. ADLs include the following:

  • Dressing themselves
  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Using the bathroom
  • Walking around and general mobility

If your assessment of your parents’ ADLs is good, move on to look at how they perform other necessary tasks. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are crucial components of our routine and difficulty performing these tasks can be an indicator of a less obvious issue. IADLs include the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Meal preparation
  • Shopping for groceries and other essentials
  • Transportation outside of the home

Keep an eye on them and ask yourself questions such as:

  • Are they able to move around comfortably and effectively?
  • Are they eating normally?
  • Have they lost weight?
  • Is their home stocked with groceries?
  • Is their personal hygiene up to their normal standards?

Remember that some changes may not be obvious. Your parents may also choose not to tell you if they are experiencing any problems. Keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • An unkempt appearance
  • Broken appliances
  • Expired food
  • Low energy or depressed demeanor
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Decreased interest in hobbies
  • Decreased engagement with family and friends

If you notice any of these red flags, you will need to look deeper into the matter. Before concluding that assisted living is your only option, consider other avenues that will provide them with the support they need while still allowing them their independence. This could be integrating smart devices into their everyday lives or investing in a lift chair or mobility scooter. 

At Leading Edge Mobility, we know the value of independence. We know that the ability to go about your daily routine without issue is something many people take for granted. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing solutions tailored to your needs. If you’re not sure where to start or what areas need improvement, we can help. Our in-home assessment helps us determine which products (or combination of products) will help you maintain the highest level of function so you can go about your day as usual. Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

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