Jan 23, 2014

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Convincing a Loved One to Use a Cane

use a caneAre you concerned about your parent or loved one falling due to instability or inability to get around with ease?  Maybe you have thrown the suggestion out there that just maybe if they were to use a cane it would be of assistance, but was turned down with resistance to the idea.  Convincing an independent loved one or parent to use an assistive device, such as a cane can be a difficult task if not almost close to impossible at times.    Whatever the obstacle may be for convincing a loved one to use a cane, you have good intentions and want to convey these intentions without overstepping your boundaries.  In this article, we will be discussing some tips to help you overcome this obstacle and hopefully convince your loved one that at times a cane is the best option for safety and stability.

Utilize Your HealthCare Professional

Many elderly individuals instill trust in their healthcare providers and tend to listen to advice offered by these individuals.   You may consider contacting your doctor and discussing your concerns about your elderly parent or loved one falling due to balance issues or instability.  Your doctor can then perform a balance test and provide you and your loved one with results that show the need for a mobility device and then they may be more open to use a cane for assistance.

Feelings of Dependence

Much resistance from elderly individuals when it comes to using a cane is the feeling of becoming a hindrance to other loved ones in his or her life.  Instead of being independent, they feel dependent and needy.  Make sure to sit your loved one down and talk with him or her that this is not about a dependency issue, it is about a safety issue.  Your main concern is to provide ultimate care and to increase their overall health and wellbeing, and by using a mobility device your loved one is much more safe and able to get around without falling.  Offer options rather than ultimatums.  There are several mobility options available to you, including the aPallo Cane, which is a more advanced and innovative device that your loved one will come to appreciate.

Exercise to Build Balance

If your loved one is completely resistant to using a mobility device, or cane, then a good idea is to try to build better balance through exercising.  You can speak with your doctor or healthcare professional about healthy and effective exercise programs that help to develop better balance.  Some good examples for exercise techniques you can use at home for building balance include the following:

  • The One Leg Stand – This exercise helps to build overall balance through the legs.  Start standing with feet hip-width apart and your weight evenly distributed.  Shift your weight onto one side and lift the other foot off of the floor.  Hold this position for 30 seconds.  Return to a neutral standing position and repeat on the other side.
  • Trunk Turns – Stand on a mini-trampoline with your legs shoulder distance apart.  Hold an exercise ball and twist at the waist to each side holding for 5 to 10 seconds.  Repeat this exercise 20 times.
  • Single Leg Squats – Stand on one leg with your foot pointing straight ahead and your knee bent slightly.  Tuck your pelvis and slowly squat down.  Try not to fall out of the exercise.  This helps to develop balance and strength in the legs.

Convincing a Loved One to Use a Cane

Convincing a loved one or elderly parent that he or she requires a cane to become more mobile can be an uneasy task to take on.  However, there are ways around it, ways to convince him or her and exercises that can be incorporated to increase balance.  Have you ever had to deal with a resistant parent who required assistance with mobility?  If so, please share your experience below.

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  • Bert

    My Dad is reluctant to start using a cane for a lot of the reasons listed above but also because he is afraid it is just the first step (no pun intended) toward needing a walker and then ultimately ending up in a wheelchair. Is there any validity to this? Is there any medical research on becoming dependent on an orthopedic device and an increase in dependency?

  • Sherman

    The cons to not using a cane when a cane is needed are too great. As reluctant as I was to start using mine, I knew that without it I ran the risk of getting hurt bad enough to land me in a wheelchair. I know how blunt that sounds, but if you need to remind a loved one of what’s at stake to get them to do what’s necessary, then so be it.