My Elderly Father Won’t Use Mobility Aides

Nelson’s father, Ben, had always been very independent and active. When Ben’s aging body grew more unstable after a hip replacement, his father refused to use a cane despite the doctor’s orders. Not only did Ben refuse to use the cane at home, he stopped going out to places where he would be seen with the cane. For example, when Nelson invited Ben to an extended family picnic in the park, Ben decided to stay home because he didn’t want family members to see him with a mobility aid. Nelson worried about his stubborn father’s refusal to use the cane, and his growing isolation.

Senior Care Penfield NY - My Elderly Father Won’t Use Mobility Aides

Senior Care Penfield NY – My Elderly Father Won’t Use Mobility Aides

Many elderly adults need to use mobility aides such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs. However, far too many seniors that might benefit from using them refuse to do so. An elderly person can be very stubborn when their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs influence their decision whether to use mobility aids. Family caregivers and senior care assistants can get frustrated at the elderly person’s lack of mobility and the hazards they face when they go without their mobility aides.

There are many reasons why elderly adults need to use a mobility aid. From hip surgery and vertigo to weaker muscle strength and the side effects of a stroke, elderly adults become increasingly less stable with age. Mobility aides like wheelchairs, canes and walkers provide stability and support so that the elderly people are less likely to suffer a slip and fall accident. Falls can result in some serious injuries so aging adults should do everything they can to avoid them. When seniors refuse mobility devices, they are putting their health in jeopardy.

One of the biggest reasons why elderly people reuse mobility devices is because of how it looks. They feel that when people see them with a cane or walker, they are staring or talking about them. Sometimes, seniors with mobility aides get special treatment, such as being escorted to the front of a line. This treatment can make some elderly adults feel self-conscious and embarrassed.

Another reason why seniors refuse mobility aides is because of how they make them feel. Many seniors are reluctant to admit to themselves that they are growing older and refuse some of the devices and tools that signal “old age.” This can include things like hearing aids, bifocals and mobility aides. Even though they would benefit from using them, mobility aides like canes, walkers and wheelchairs are simply too visible for people and they don’t like the looks of them.

Also, many seniors are reluctant to start using mobility aides because they fear they will grow too dependent on them. In other words, they worry that they will lose the ability to remain mobile on their own after becoming accustomed to having a cane or walker. Of course, the inconvenience of having to maneuver with a cane or walker is yet another reason why many people refuse the mobility aides.

Stubborn elderly relatives will often refuse mobility aides when they readily accept other forms of help, such as senior care assistance and family caregiver attention. It’s important to understand what is motivating the refusals so they can be addressed. Their health and wellness depend on it.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Penfield NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.

John Hunt