Wheelchair to Walker


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I started working at my new community about two months ago. One resident stood out to me immediately.

Kara was in a high-back wheelchair and was incredibly restless. “Help, help, help,” she would say. Kara was known to fall frequently. She was frail and looked quite fragile, really, so her hospice organization had gotten her a wheelchair soon after she moved in.

After I spent some more time with Kara, I realized that all of her falls were due to the same reason: she wanted to walk. She wanted to get up and go down the hallway, but her wheelchair made that very difficult. Kara didn’t understand how to use her wheelchair properly, either.

I went to her hospice nurse and suggested that we try getting a walker for her. She shrugged. “I’ll give it a try! I’ll order one for you today.”

We got the walker in the next day. Kara took to it immediately, using it with ease. Sure, there were times she left it behind, trying to navigate the hallway herself. Instantly, though, her agitation decreased. Her falls and depression decreased.

Kara was up and moving again, and she was clearly happier for it.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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