Elderly waiting alone at malls due to unable to keep up

When we visit shopping malls, it is not uncommon to see an old person or two sitting all alone by themselves at a waiting area….. while the rest of the family members are away shopping. They have to wait because they could not keep up with the speed of other family members due to old age and mobility issues.

My grandaunt raised me when I was young. During my era, places were not disabled friendly as it is today hence it was challenging and even dangerous for an old person to go around due to uneven gravel and steps. When my grandaunt got too weak to walk, she no longer join us for family outings. It used to pain me because I had always wished we could bring her along. One part of me look forward to outings, yet my heart ached when we had to leave her behind.

Then when my mom started suffering from mobility issues, I was determined not to let her be left out like my grandaunt or the other elderly people that I used to see sitting miserably by themselves all alone at malls or hypermarkets.

How our elderly parents are able to go along with us

The solution is very simple. Get a lightweight wheelchair. It is easy to find as nowadays a lot of wheelchairs are made from lightweight steel and could be easily folded and taken in and out of the trunk of the car.

Not to mention that literally all commercial places are wheelchair friendly. Especially shopping malls, hotels, airports and even recreation parks. When we placed them on a wheelchair, they are able to go along with us. All they need is to sit on the wheelchair and someone else to push them around.

Initially, my mom opposed to the idea of a wheelchair, even a walking stick. But I saw the writing in the wall and knew it would be a matter of time she would require a walker and wheelchair. So I bought these items and hid it in the storeroom whiles she was not looking. When the time came, I took out the walker and asked her to use it…. initially I got some sounding but after I managed to get her to try to use it, she got so accustomed to it that she used it with her all the time.

Then came the wheelchair…… she had a fall and had some pain so in order to transport her around, she had to be on a wheelchair. Initially she was resistant to it, but later she also got used to it.

When they first had to sit on a wheelchair in the public, there may be a lot of resistance especially if they are used to being independant and self reliant their entire lives. But once they realized that by being willing to sit on a wheelchair, they are reducing the risk of falls, and they get to spend hours and hours going with us, they would warm up to the idea. They would understand that there is no need to be so self conscious because frankly, the strangers do not really care.

Additional note: If they suffer from incontinent issues, then convince them to put on a day diapers as well. It would save from any possible embarassing incidents of not being able to get to a washroom on time.

Taking my mom along and on roadtrips

With the help of walker and wheelchair, my mom was able to accompany me to many outings and roadtrips. It was not an issue with roadtrips because the rest stops are all disabled friendly…. there are wheelchair ramps and disabled friendly washrooms.

My mom now have very advanced Alzheimers and had been bedridden for the past 3 years. I am very grateful that the few years prior to that, I had taken her to many trips to shopping malls and just driving around exploring our area. She was able to follow along, in fact, she looked forward to these trips so much.

When I placed her on a wheelchair, I could take her wherever I go and we had explored many places together. That time I had resigned from my job after she was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis (hardening of the liver due to acute hepatitis B), had a fall and had shown signs of being very forgetful, ie not remembering if she had eaten or not.

Today, these become treasured memories of the time spent with her and places we had explored. That time she was also recovering from liver cirrhosis and was in her early stage of being very forgetful (early stage of Alzheimers) – and these trips had kept her cheerful and with nutrition, her liver cirrhosis went into remission.

We should never consider them as trouble- after all when we were toddlers and young, we were also a nuisance to be taken around….. they had to bring us, a pram, and a huge bag consisting of diapers, formula, wipes, milk bottles, change of clothes, etc. We would not hesitate to cry, or soil ourselves and our clothings. Then when we were able to walk and run, we were hyper and they had a hard time trying to keep up with us.

If we do not take the time and include them in our life activities, we would come to regret it once the opportunity had gone forever.

When one day it becomes our turn to be old and riddled with bodily pains and mobility issues, we would start getting automatic flashbacks of how our parents took care of us when we were little, ill or when we were defenseless. The worried and concerned look on their face when we developed fever or an illness. That is why many old people at their old page pine for their deceased parents.

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