Broaching the subject of mobility to elderly parents

Our guide to approaching conversations about mobility with your ageing parents in a calm and positive way.

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Watching a parent transition from being your care giver to being reliant on you for help can be a difficult adjustment for you both. Talking to them about how to stay active and safe in their home can be an awkward conversation: you don’t want to highlight their vulnerabilities or condescend, but you do need to address some practical concerns about how they get about. It’s worth taking the time to talk to them: discussing mobility in a positive way can give you peace of mind and help your parents to stay independent for longer.

Gillian Simpson, from Stairlift Express, often works with people hoping to help their parents stay in their own homes. "Family members I talk to are generally looking for a way to keep their loved one independent in their own home, this also brings peace of mind for the carers as the stairs are now safe," she said.

So how do you start the conversation?

Take your time Don’t start trying to discuss sensitive issues like mobility if you are in a rush or stressed out – it will just add pressure. Set aside a dedicated period of time to talk to your parents in a relaxed setting, ideally with tea and cake. Ask them their opinion Open the conversation by asking them how they feel they are coping and, ideally, how long they would like to stay in their home. While your opinions might be different, letting them have their say rather than going on the offensive is likely to make them feel more comfortable. Most people will probably say they want to stay at home for as long as possible which gives you’re the opportunity to introduce the topic of home modifications and additional support. Focus on the positives Some people see getting additional support at home, whether it is a stair lift or a personal alarm, as a sign of weakness. Try to dispel this idea by focusing on the positive aspects: It will help them stay more independent for longer; They will be safe in the home they love; It will give their family greater peace of mind, knowing they will be safe when they are not around; They don’t have to use it all the time but it will be there to help with difficult tasks – even if it is just taking the washing upstairs. Don’t be discouraged It might be that your parents aren’t open to the idea of mobility support initially. That is to be expected. Try not to push too hard and return to the conversation a few days later once they have had time to reflect on everything you have said. If possible, leave them some information which they can go through in their own time to help them feel they are making an informed decision.

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Stairlift Express offers new and reconditioned stair lifts at competitive prices. A family run business, it provides friendly, professional and reliable service from start to finish.

For more information visit or call 0800 9992292.