For many seniors, limited mobility is to be expected with age. However, knowing this fact does not make it easier for them to adjust to their new normal. Purchasing a suitable personal mobility aid (PMA) for your loved ones is an excellent investment that allows them to regain their independence and go about their daily tasks with ease. These assistive devices also help seniors in the disabled community regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives.
Whether they are first-time wheelchair users or have just upgraded to the latest motorised wheelchair model, your ageing parents will undoubtedly require some time adjusting to life in a new electric wheelchair. They will likely feel uncomfortable and uncoordinated in the first few days while acclimating to their new mobility device.
Nevertheless, with sufficient practice and patience, your parents will soon be able to manoeuvre their wheelchair freely without any problems. In fact, there are ways to help your parents better acclimatise to their new PMAs. Let us share four practical tips on how you can help your loved ones quickly adapt to life in a new electric wheelchair.
1. Read the instruction manual
Upon purchasing a brand-new motorised wheelchair, the first thing that you should do is to read through the instruction manual carefully. This is because no two electric wheelchairs are the same. Depending on its model, each mobility device comes with its own set of unique features and functions.
The comprehensive booklet that accompanies the assistive device will provide you with all the detailed instructions and necessary information you need to instruct your loved ones on how to navigate the wheelchair correctly. From understanding how their wheelchair operates to handling basic repairs and maintenance, you will need to be well-versed in keeping their mobility device mechanically sound and in perfect working order.
2. Practice operating the electric wheelchair
Practice makes perfect, and learning how to manoeuvre a new electric wheelchair effortlessly is no exception. If your parents wish to adapt to their new motorised wheelchair quickly, they can consider operating their electric device in an environment that they are familiar with. For instance, if they enjoy basking under the sun outdoors, they can test drive their mobility device at a park near their home.
A well-fitted wheelchair also makes a world of difference in the long run as it ensures that all your loved ones' mobility needs are thoroughly met. Since the wheelchair is now a permanent addition to their life, you want their body to be well-supported throughout the day for optimal comfort. Take the time to make any adjustments to their wheelchair, such as adding additional cushions and backrests as you deem fit!
3. Modify your home and make it wheelchair-friendly
If you are staying with your elderly parents, you might want to consider modifying your home to make it wheelchair-friendly and accessible to accommodate their current mobility needs. For example, since they will be spending most of their time roaming around the house in a wheelchair, how about implementing measures to ensure that the area is easily manoeuvrable and obstacle-free?
One such solution is to remove any unnecessary furniture, such as extra tables, or chairs, that may block their way. You want the entire home to be spacious so that their electric wheelchair can fit into any room. Another tip is to store any necessity within arm's reach. This way, your parents will not have to depend on a caregiver for assistance when they need to grab an item.
4. Maintain a positive outlook
Disabilities are an unfortunate part and parcel of life that many individuals, especially seniors, go through. However, for those experiencing a loss or decline in mobility, relying on an assistive device to fulfil their daily needs can still be a tough pill to swallow, even if they are aware of that fact. If your parents are experiencing this same issue, it is crucial for you to provide regular encouragement and help them maintain a positive outlook on life.
Considering the various challenges that come with a gradual lack of mobility, staying positive is easier said than done. But taking the first step to change your loved ones' mindset towards a positive one can improve their overall well-being and add value to their quality of life. By reminding them to focus on the little joys in life, you can ensure they stay happy and live life to the fullest regardless of their circumstances.
It is tough getting used to living life in a new electric wheelchair. However, with these handy tips, you can now help your loved ones better familiarise themselves with their new mobility device. With your tremendous love and support, they will find that transitioning to this new lifestyle will be significantly easier.