“Aging in place” is a common term today that describes our desire to live independently in our own homes for as long as we can. Unfortunately as we grow older, health challenges and disabilities create obstacles we must overcome. One that many seniors face is decreased mobility. Thankfully there are numerous products that can help seniors stay safe and mobile as they age.
With all mobility products, it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. Purchasing an ill-fitting device for a loved one or yourself can create stability issues, poor posture, and even pain. Before selecting any mobility assistance equipment, be sure to consult your physician or physical therapist. Once you have an assistance plan and have selected equipment, working with an assistive technology provider (ATP) will ensure you receive the training you need for proper use.
- Canes – Canes are useful for people who require a moderate amount of balance assistance or who have one leg that is considerably weaker than the other. They come in a variety of styles including one contact point (the tip) or a base that has four feet. These provided added stability but can be a little heavier to manipulate. Be sure to get properly fitted for a cane to ensure it creates the correct walking angle for you.
- Walkers – Walkers provide an increased level of stability and weight, with some being able to support up to 50% of a person’s total weight. These are best for seniors with extreme stability needs who also have the ability to lift and replace the walker while in stride.
- Rollators – For seniors who are more mobile but need assistance with stability, a rollator may be a good selection. Rollators allow for a much more natural gait but also require better posture. The wheels make them easier to maneuver, however rollators generally do not provide as much stability as a traditional walker.
- Power Scooters – Power scooters come in a variety of sizes for all kinds of indoor and outdoor terrain. They can be a great alternative for seniors who have the upper body strength to drive but lack the ability to walk long distances. Be sure to check with your insurance company. Many will only cover power scooter equipment designed for inside the home and may even require a physician’s referral.
- Wheelchairs – When other manual devices no longer provide the safety and stability a person needs, it is time to consider a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can provide a safe way to enjoy activities with friends and family. For manual wheelchairs, most people will require a standard chair. There are some conditions that may allow for insurance to cover the purchase of a more lightweight model. When it comes to power wheelchairs, the sky’s the limit… well actually your budget and insurance coverage is the limit!
By making responsible choices about mobility needs seniors and their caregivers can help ensure continued time in the home. The staff at Burlington Health Care are here to assist you with options, fittings, and everything you need to continue to enjoy life to the fullest!