We have seen so many elderly use of mobility devices like shopping carts and umberellas instead of walkers and canes.
Although we had established in many of our posts why walkers and canes are avoided, we never learned why the seniors preferred these other 'devices'.
An expert at the Silver Crest Rehabilitation center in Queens had told that, even though they have advised the seniors to continue using the suggested devices, they tend to 'walk' away from them. Clearly the elderly want to remain independent, and not rely on others for help. But, at the same time, they want to stay upright, and balanced.
When my team visited the Weinberg Center for Balanced Living for a lunch service volunteering on March 16th, we had the opportunity to observe more than 30 seniors out of the 140, using various mobility devices (including canes, walkers, wheelchairs, umbrellas, rollators, and shopping cart).
When asked a fe
w questions, we found out that the reason why the odd devices are preferred are because the are reliable. They trust these devices.
For instance, using an umbrella as a cane can serve more than one purpose: a device to balance oneself, and also to protect oneself from rain or harsh sunlight.
I'm quoting Helaine, the lady who was 'prescribed' the shopping cart by her friend, Margaret, "I don't remember where I bought it, but this shopping cart has been with me for 40 years, and it's still good".
In a previous interview, Margaret had told us, "I can walk all the way from here [New York] to Chicago if I have my shopping cart with me."
These observations suggest that the elderly think of their devices more like a companion than a non-living physical object that can help them move around.