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Tips On Caring for an Elderly Parent Who Can’t Walk

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Close-up of a senior woman smiling and resting her hands on a cane

It can be difficult to watch our parents age. And when mobility becomes a problem, it can be difficult to care for them. We all want what’s best for our parents, and watching them struggle to move around can be emotionally exhausting. 

But, you aren’t alone in this journey. Our team at The Landmark of Fridley is here to help with a list of tips for caring for an older parent who can’t walk:

Make Their Home More Accessible

Your parent likely spends a great deal of their time in their home, so take the time to make their home more accessible so they can move around safely and comfortably.

Start in the hallways and doorways or other common walkways and ensure there aren’t any tripping hazards. Look for:

  • Loose rugs
  • Furniture with a corner sticking out in the way
  • Tripping hazards like cables or wires

Install anti-slip mats around the sinks and bathtubs so if water spills, your loved one isn’t at risk of falling. 


  • Grab bars in the shower and anywhere they sit or lie down
  • Chair lifts (if necessary) for long, steep, or narrow staircases
  • Ramps for the doorways and small stairwells
  • Medical alert buttons in easy-to-reach areas

With these modifications, your loved one’s home will be much safer and they’ll be able to move around without worrying about falling or getting hurt.

Encourage Exercise Where Possible

Exercise is important no matter your ability. It’s recommended that those over 65 get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. 

Many exercises can help maintain aerobic, strength, and flexibility without needing to walk around or join a gym. Try recommending:

  • Chair yoga to promote flexibility and joint health
  • Resistance band workouts to promote muscle growth
  • Simple stretching to avoid stiffness and pain
  • Water aerobics to improve joint flexibility and range of motion

These exercises offer a great solution for your parent to stay active despite mobility challenges. But always consult with their healthcare team before starting any new exercise routine. Even though exercise is extremely beneficial, safety should always come first.

Focus on Mental Health & Mental Well-Being

Your parent’s physical health is a crucial part of maintaining a high quality of life, but their mental health plays a major role as well. Encourage them to continue participating in the hobbies and activities they love—even if they need to adapt to their limited mobility.

Regular social interaction can also be very important to maintaining a happy, active life. Socializing with others offers wonderful benefits, including:

  • Emotional support
  • Avoiding feelings of loneliness or isolation
  • Maintaining self-esteem and validity
  • Providing opportunities for laughter and fun
  • Providing cognitive stimulation

Set up a coffee hour or lunch with some of their loved ones and friends, and enjoy the smiles and laughter! It can be a simple way to bring peace and joy to your parent when reduced mobility may be bringing them down.

Plan Around Transportation

Getting around can be a challenge for those with reduced mobility. But there are plenty of options that can help your loved one navigate the world around them.

Here in Minnesota, there’s the Minnesota Seniors Transportation service. This program offers older people in Minnesota access to transportation for appointments, events, errands, visits, and more. Many of the vehicles feature lifts or ramps to make them wheelchair accessible, and they take pride in their customer service.

Mobility aids can also help your parent move around if they go out on their own, including:

  • Wheelchairs, either manual or powered
  • Mobility scooters
  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Crutches

These devices can help your loved one safely navigate their environment and restore their independence.

A senior man with a cane smiles and laughs while sitting outside with a nurse and other seniors.

Consider Moving to a Senior Living Community

Our community at The Landmark of Fridley is here to help. We’ve designed our community with accessibility in mind and offer a wide range of programs and services to help your loved one enjoy their golden years. Our team is here for you and your family. Schedule a tour today to see our community for yourself.

Written by Lifespark

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