How to choose mobility devices for seniors?

Whether we like it or not, aging often comes with limited mobility, among other health issues. Elderly people have mobility problems because of specific illnesses such as osteoporosis and arthritis, or as a result of injuries, accidents or neurological issues. However, the good news is that mobility devices have come a long way and are much more helpful.

Some elderly people only need temporary support, while they are recovering after an injury or surgery. Others have permanent mobility limitations, due to certain health issues, and require the use of mobility devices on a daily basis.

The purpose is to prevent any falls or other types of accidents that could be fatal and, also, to allow routine activities around the house, such as reaching objects that are placed higher. The most widely used mobility devices are canes, walkers, manual wheelchairs, and power scooters. The right mobility device should be selected according to the senior’s specific needs.

elderly in cane

Canes

Canes are traditional mobility devices that are best suited for people with minimal or temporary mobility restrictions. They improve a person’s balance and stability, and that is why they’re recommended for preventing falls. Seniors who could use a cane are those who suffer from joint diseases, those who have one leg that is weaker than the other or those who are recovering.

Classical canes are the C-shaped ones, but there are also alternatives with a horizontal grip and even several feet, in order to provide more stability for people who also have weakness in their hands. The important thing is to choose a cane with a grip that feels comfortable and with the right height. Canes that are made from aluminum can be adjusted to the right height.

Walkers

If your senior loved one needs more support, walkers are the next option. While canes usually support 25 percent of the body weight, walkers go up to 50 percent. Because walkers have fixed legs and need to be maneuvered, the seniors who are using them need to have sufficient arm strength. Walkers also need to have the adequate height and also be large enough.

Rollators are walkers that have 3 or 4 wheels, which makes them more practical and easier to use. Plus, they can also come with a hand brake and a basket, so they are more convenient.

Wheelchairs

While canes and walkers are adequate for seniors with limited mobility, elderly people who are unable to walk need mobility devices that are more complex. A wheelchair is also recommended in cases where the elderly person feels fatigue and dizziness when getting up, and there’s a high risk of falling.

Basic wheelchairs have a simple design and are quite heavy. They can only be used by seniors who are able to self-propel. One downside is that a basic wheelchair puts more pressure on the hands, and that is why seniors should wear special gloves. You can find out more about wheelchair gloves from this article.

Scooters

Electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters are recommended for seniors who are not able to self-propel. Electric wheelchairs are usually smaller than scooters and easier to use indoors, while scooters are more adequate for outdoors.

There are various types of powered wheelchairs and, depending on the elderly person’s diagnosis, the insurance covers a certain type of wheelchair.

Compared to other generations, who were condemned to become dependent on others and whose lives were completely changed if they could no longer walk properly, senior citizens now have varied options that can help maintain their lifestyle, as much as possible. Modern mobility devices are much more effective and can help elderly people enjoy their regular activities.

Author: Chris Northcolt

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