Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2018/09/22
Synopsis: An overview of mobility aids for seniors and persons with disabilities including manual and electric wheelchairs and motorized scooters.
Reduced mobility is something that many of us do not think twice about, but it is something that millions of people all over the world live with everyday. There are of people in the world who suffer from disabilities on a level that few of us could imagine. With the aging of the baby boomers comes the realization that the growth of people with disabilities will continue to increase year by year.
A mobility aid is a device designed to assist walking or otherwise improve the mobility of people with a mobility impairment.
There are various walking aids which can help people with impaired ability to walk and wheelchairs or mobility scooters for more severe disability or longer journeys which would otherwise be undertaken on foot.
For people who are blind or visually impaired the white cane and guide dog have a long history of use. Other aids can help with mobility or transfer within a building or where there are changes of level.
An elderly woman stands next to a person in a wheelchair near a green grassy field - Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash.
Many people with disabilities have a major concern, the mobility issue. Plainly put, 'how are they going to get around'? Through technology there has been the creation of mobility aids like electric wheelchairs, lift vans, and rollators.
Mobility Aids for persons with disabilities and/or health conditions, also called Ambulation devices, are used by people with arthritis, MS, Parkinson's disease, back pain, Cerebral Palsy, and many other physical limiting conditions. Mobility aids help you walk or move from place to place if you are disabled, aged, or have an injury. Mobility aids include items such as walkers, canes, crutches, manual and electric wheelchairs and motorized scooters.
Walking aids are tools designed to assist walking or enable mobility. You may need a walker or cane if you are at risk of falling. Zimmer frames, and wheeled (rolling) walkers or rollators are other devices designed to assist people having difficulty walking.
Elbow crutches can be the most appropriate walking aid for some people, especially for those recovering from an injury. They are usually adjustable to make them more comfortable and offer the right level of support. Crutches may be available in different colors, depending on the model. If you need to keep your body weight off your foot, ankle or knee, you may need crutches. You may need a wheelchair or a scooter if an injury or disease has left you unable to walk.
A device to assist walking that has entered the market in recent years is the gait trainer. This is a mobility aid that is more supportive than the standard walker. It typically offers support that assists weight-bearing and balance. The accessories or product parts that attach to the product frame provide un-weighting support and postural alignment to enable walking practice. Mobility aids may also include adaptive technology such as sling lifts or other patient transfer devices that help transfer users between beds and chairs or lift chairs (and other sit-to-stand devices), transfer or convertible chairs. Knee scooters help some users.
Much more cost effective than an elevator, and easier to install, a stair lift allows a rider to move up and down stairs while seated. These lifts, known as stair lifts, can be installed for a staircase inside or outside the home and give the user back his/her mobility in their home. They can also be installed on a curved staircase. For many, the addition of a stair lift may be all they need to continue living in their home.
A lift chair is a very special home lifting aid. They are recliners that lift into the air to make it easier and safer to transfer into and out of the chair. Some can support more than 500 pounds and they come in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate different body types. In addition to providing an electrical lifting mechanism that raises the chair into the air, they also offer motorized back and leg rests, which makes them very comfortable.