How To Choose The Right Mobility Aid
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Aging comes with many difficulties. One of the most common is issues with mobility. As we age, we lose muscle mass and develop joint problems. For many seniors, this can result in difficulties walking. When this happens, many seniors turn to a mobility aid. But how do you choose the right one?
Types Of Mobility Aids
The number of mobility aids has increased in recent years, with new technology allowing for options ranging from basic wheelchairs to complex options like an exoskeleton for disabled people. There are three main categories that most people consider.
Walking Assistance Aids
These are for seniors who can still walk but need help or support to do so. This category includes:
- Canes. These help with balance and relieve pressure on the joints for those with light to moderate walking difficulties.
- Quad canes. This offers greater stability for seniors with light to moderate walking difficulty, but who need more balance than a cane can offer.
- Walkers. A walker, without wheels, gives more stability than a cane but can be harder to use than a wheeled walker.
- Walkers with wheels. These offer great stability and are easier than walkers without wheels.
- Rollators. These are wheeled walkers with seats and hand brakes. They offer a lot of stability, are easy to use, and can be used as a seat if the user gets tired.
A wheelchair is needed when it is too hard or dangerous for a senior to walk unaided. Non-powered chairs need some upper body strength, so many seniors need help from someone else to propel their chair around. Seniors may prefer a powered wheelchair to give them more autonomy and mobility. Powered chairs are more expensive, but do help with autonomy, and work well indoors.
Scooters have become more popular with seniors with mobility difficulties in recent years. Scooters are powered by electricity, so seniors who have limited amounts of strength can still get around on their own instead of relying on others. Scooters can cover a lot of different types of terrain better than a powered wheelchair, but they have issues in tight areas. Because of their larger size and wider turning circle, they can be impractical for those who need mobility assistance at home.
Assessing Mobility Needs
Choosing the best mobility aid will depend on your needs and difficulties. The best person to make the choice is the senior themselves. Nobody knows their own mobility difficulties as well as they do, and only they can decide what aids they will feel the most comfortable using. Your doctor should also be a part of the conversation and the decision.
It’s a good idea to test out some different options to see what works best. A lot of stores will let you test a range of mobility aids before you make a purchase. If you aren’t sure if you want a cane or a rollator, try both to see what feels the most comfortable for you to use.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.