Mobility aids are a variety of devices that are designed to assist people with mobility issues to help them move around and maintain a decent quality of life. People who experience a reduction in their mobility such as the elderly or the injured, typically choose to use mobility aids to address the risks of falling, imbalance, or incoordination. Mobility aids provide more comfort for the person using it, more independence, and an increased sense of confidence and self-esteem.
Growing up, our parents were the proudest when we reached another milestone in our life, including walking, talking, and learning our numbers and ABCs. As we continue to grow old ourselves, our parents also now face their own milestones, which could include them losing their footing or balance. Those of us who find ourselves at this juncture may feel concerned and are often left wondering what we can do to help them.
When picking out the best mobility aids for ourselves or our loved ones, it is recommended to consult with a physical therapist to match your need with the best aid to manage it. It might also be a few tries before finding the right aid as using assistive devices like these have a learning curve and with the range of options, your physical therapist may recommend to try out a few and find what makes sense for you.
Different Types of Mobility Aids
The type of mobility aid for you will have to depend on the injury or mobility issue that you have. A good rule of thumb is to consider your upper body strength and the degree to which you are capable of supporting your own weight. It is important to consider upper body strength in order to prevent any additional injury from occurring.
Some assistive aids include the following:
Canes are designed to support the user’s weight and distribute the load from the legs and towards the upper body. These aids place more pressure on the hands and wrists and take less weight off the lower body compared to crutches.
Similar to canes, crutches help support the weight of the body by transferring most of it from the legs to the upper body. It is typically used for temporary or permanent injuries that affect the lower extremities.
Walkers are four-legged mobility aids that give user support and stability. Some walkers have rubberized ends perfect for those who still have significant arm strength while other walkers have wheels to make the process easier by simply sliding it instead of lifting.
Some conditions may result in the person not being able to put weight on their lower body. Wheelchairs are one of the options for these people to help them get around. Typically, a wheelchair is an assistance device with a seat and wheels. Some features big wheels for easy and accessible movement for the user while some have a handle at the back for the caregiver to use to push the person forward.
Exercise and Mobility Aids
Ideally, purchasing a mobility aid should allow the person to use it to become as active as they can. Using a cane or walker can be a useful tool for people who experience pain or become too tired while walking without any assistance. Mobility aids can help the elderly regain their sense of independence.
Talking About Mobility Aids with Your Parents
Having a conversation with your parents about using mobility aids can be a challenging one. Many parents associate having assistive devices with losing their independence and freedom. On the contrary, one thing you can point out to them is that mobility aids are very helpful and can help them safely stay active. As an additional point, you can also stress that mobility aids can be used on an as-needed basis. Reassuring them with this knowledge can help your parents accept and take some control over the decision to use mobility aids in their day-to-day lives.
Mobility aids do not only help the mobility-challenged move themselves from one point to another but also function to improve the user’s quality of life. This decision to use this kind of assistive device will allow older adults and people with limited mobility to stay active as safely and as securely as they can.