Last Updated on April 30, 2018
Mobility assistance devices help individuals who have difficulty moving about and otherwise enjoying the freedom and independence they once did. Senior mobility aids are used by individuals with disabilities and injuries like cerebral palsy, who may be at increased risk of falling without using an assistive device. Other benefits provided by mobility assistance devices include reduced pain, increased self-confidence, and overall peace of mind.
A wide range of mobility assistance devices are available to meet a variety of needs. In this article, we will go over different types of mobility assistive devices for the elderly and explain the benefits they provide.
Type of Mobility Assistance Devices for the Elderly
Canes are used by people who have trouble maintaining balance and are at risk of falling. Studies show that 1 in 10 adults over the age of 65 uses a cane. Different types of canes are available depending on the level of assistance needed— ranging from canes with one foot for minimal stability, to canes with four feet for maximum stability. While canes help transmit body weight from the legs to the upper body, it’s important to keep in mind that they place added pressure on the hands and wrists.
Like canes, crutches also transfer body weight from the legs to the upper body. However, crutches are mobility assistance devices that are typically used as a short-term solution for people recovering from injuries, while canes are more of a long-term solution. Crutches are placed against the rib cage under the armpits, keeping the user upright as they hold onto a hand grip.
While canes and crutches are usually made out of wood, walkers are made up of a solid metal framework. A three-sided metal frame surrounds the user, with four legs on the ground to provide stability and support. The user lifts the walker, places it in front of them, and steps forward. This process is repeated for every step. Some walkers have wheels on each leg for continuous movement.
A wheelchair is used when the individual either unable to walk or absolutely cannot put any weight on their lower body. Wheelchairs are either manually propelled by the user pushing the wheels or controlled electrically.
A step above a wheelchair is a scooter, which has a seat on top of a platform with as many as 4 or 5 wheels. Scooters are electrically powered with steering wheels to control direction.
Individuals with any of the above-listed mobility assistance devices may also benefit from an access ramp. They’re easier to maneuver than steps, and can also help with overcoming thresholds.
Individuals with limited mobility can benefit from installing handrails in their home. Handrails are particularly useful in areas a person may have to briefly put down their canes, or move in and out of their wheelchairs— such as bathrooms and the front entrance.
Stair lifts provide the ultimate freedom of mobility within one’s own home. They often make the difference between individuals being able to stay in their home versus moving to another residence with one floor. Stair lifts are electrically powered that effortlessly move an individual up and down a flight of stairs while seated.
Stair lifts can make a world of difference to anyone who regularly uses any of the mobility assistance devices included in this list. For more information, please contact us or visit our stair lifts page.