Many older adults require mobility aids to provide them with the support they need to get around their place of residence or the outdoors. If you are unsure which type of mobility aid best matches the needs of your loved one, here is what you need to know to help you make a well-informed choice.
Who Needs Mobility Aids?
Older adults who are experiencing the following symptoms stand to benefit from mobility aids:
- Dizziness from medication
- Slips or falls while standing up or walking
- Weakened lower body strength
- Injuries that cause poor balance
- Pain while standing up or when walking
- Gets easily tired when standing or walking too long
Mobility aids are not just for older adults. Younger people who have suffered an injury or illness will also stand to benefit from mobility aids to get around with more confidence.
Benefits of Mobility Aids
Not all older adults are willing to admit that they need a mobility aid as there is a stigma that surrounds the idea of using one. Some older adults can be spotted getting around town with an umbrella to provide them with the support they need to stand up and walk. However, you must know that an umbrella is not a proper replacement for a mobility aid. Umbrellas are not designed to support the weight of an adult and may in turn cause older adults to fall or get injured should the umbrella bend or break when in use. Mobility aids provide users with a good grip on the ground so as to reduce the risk of injury or falls.
Walking canes offer the least amount of support and are designed to offer balance or to reduce weight from an injured or weakened leg. Walking canes are suitable for those who only require a little support. They are ideal for short distances and crowded spaces as they can easily be stowed away when not in use.
A quad stick has a metal base with four small feet that are rubber-capped. There are narrow quad sticks and broad-base quad sticks which are all more stable than walking canes.
Walking frames come with a lightweight body made of metal along with four legs that are also rubber-capped for a good grip. Individuals who are less steady and need support on both sides of their body stand to benefit from walking frames.
Rollators do not need to be lifted like canes. Thus, older adults who do not have enough strength can choose rollators. A rollator usually comes with four wheels and also offers a seating area should the user need to take a rest while on the move. Its wheels are also ideal for use on uneven surfaces and will not get stuck as compared to a walker.
There are standard wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs. Both of these mobility aids offer support to the lower body. Standard wheelchairs need to be pushed by another individual if their wheels are too small to be reached. Motorized wheelchairs can enable users to move around independently.