Mobility is very important for the physical and emotional well being of the elderly. Apart from having the ability to move from place to place, being mobile gives them a fulfilling sense of freedom and independence both inside and outside the home.
Though seniors might be hesitant at first, you must let them understand that using assistive mobility equipment will better help them with their daily activities. In fact, appropriate mobility equipment can help seniors get on their feet, safely complete the activities they need to do, stay active, and maintain their leisure.
Nowadays, there are numerous mobility devices you can choose from. To know which best suits your elder loved one, here’s a closer glimpse of some devices:
These assistive devices are often the first to consider because they are light and do not need much room. The cane is used to steady those who are prone to falling and provides assistance to the senior by decreasing weight on the injured or weaker leg.
Canes come in a wide range of designs and a variety of handles based on the senior’s needs. Different types of grips and numbers of feet are available. People who need maximum weight bearing support is recommended to use the 4-point or quad cane. Some canes also double as seats, and traveling canes can be folded easily.
For seniors who need more assistance, walkers are recommended. Walkers are designed to provide assistance if balance problems cannot be corrected by canes. They provide more stability than the latter and decrease the senior’s leg exertion. However, because they are heavier and bigger, they cannot be used on stairs and require more room to maneuver. The common types of walkers include the standard, two-wheeled and four-wheeled walkers.
Crutches are used to take weight off one leg, partially or completely. They are designed to assist those with leg injuries in standing and walking. There are two types: armpit or forearm. This type of mobility device is not often recommended for seniors as using it requires good balance and strength. This is used mostly by people suffering from arthritis.
For seniors who have almost lost all of their ability to walk, wheelchairs can restore their sense of independence. There are many types available but the traditional one has two large wheels in the back and a pair or smaller wheels in the front. Through the years, wheelchairs have evolved from being heavy to being lightweight.
Manual wheelchairs made of aluminum are a good option for active individuals. On the other hand, transport chairs are light wheelchairs and usually pushed by a caregiver. These types are easy to maneuver and easy to lift in and out of a car. Lastly, motor-operated wheelchairs run at 5-25 mph and are designed for those with very weak muscles.
Electric mobility scooters are similar to motor-operated wheelchairs but are better used outdoors than indoors. They are ideal for people who find it difficult to walk distances and those with enough upper body strength to reach forward and operate the steering mechanism found in the front. Most people opt for this because they look less like a wheelchair and more like a motorcycle.
If you have more questions, it is appropriate to seek the assistance of your doctor, occupational physiotherapist or other healthcare provider.
About the author: Melissa Page is a passionate writer based in San Diego, California. She currently works for a company that sells wheelchair accessories and mobility scooter covers that will make your life easier and equipment last longer. When she is not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.