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Caregiving Resources

Information for family caregivers and those caring for aging or chronically ill adults

Why Falls are Such a Problem for Older Adults

As we get older, the combined effects of old injuries, arthritis and other joint problems, nerve damage, poor vision, medication side effects, and balance issues greatly increase the chances of falling - possibly causing serious injury. For an excellent overview of these concerns, see:

Adaptive or assistive technology is a big business. These resources can help give an overview of the kinds of devices and tools available to help with mobility problems.

First, take a look at the box for Tools and Adaptations in the Common Concerns in Later Life - Balance and Mobility webpage in this series.

For additional information, see:

For organizations that offer free or low-cost medical equipment, please see the section for Finding Free or Low-Cost Medical Equipment here.

wheelchair seating in a theater

Often we resist the idea of using an assistive tool like a wheelchair, scooter, or hearing aids. Maybe it's that we don't want to be thought of as disabled or crippled; maybe it's that we fear being discriminated against. It's quite common for people to refuse to use assistive technologies unless it's the last resort - and end up, ironically, suffering from loneliness and isolation that could be less if they used these tools to be more independent.

If your loved one is reluctant to get an assistive tool (or has one, but rarely uses it), these sources may help to overcome resistance:

Traveling With a Mobility Disability

Mobility aids are often considered tools for "activities of daily living", which includes getting out of the home to shop, go to medical appointments, visit friends and family, and traveling locally. But  more extensive travel is not out of the question, either.

two women, one in a wheelchair

Unfortunately, wheelchairs and scooters can be damaged in travel. It's wise to know your rights as a traveler, and also to have a back-up plan if needed. If there is a choice between airlines, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Reports tracks mishandled wheelchairs and scooters, mishandled baggage, canceled or delayed flights, customer complaints, etc. for the major U.S. air carriers.

When mobility problems are disease-related

When someone's problems with mobility stem from a serious disease, their life - and their caregivers' - become more complicated. Besides getting advice and assistance from the health care team, check out these resources. They may help to put issues into context, or suggest additional ways to approach those challenges.

And also peruse the Health Topics directory for MedlinePlus:

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