Growing old comes with many challenges, including reduced mobility. Here are the various types of mobility aids for seniors and how to choose the right one.
A lack of mobility is one of the most common disabilities among senior citizens in the U.S. Of the 15.7 million seniors struggling with disabilities, two-thirds of them cite difficulty walking or climbing as one of them.
Do you have a loved one whose mobility is limited? Are you unsure of which tools you should purchase to help them move with more freedom and less discomfort?
Explained below are some of the different mobility aids for seniors that you might want to invest in for your loved one.
Types of Mobility Aids
When it comes to senior mobility aids, there are tons of different options you can choose from. The following are some of the most popular:
Canes are perhaps the most common mobility aid for seniors who struggle to get around their own. They can be a great tool for those who just need a little extra support and stability, and they come in a wide range of styles.
For example, quad canes have four “feet” at the bottom and help users balance themselves with more ease. Forearm canes are also a good fit for those who have wrist pain when they lean on a traditional cane.
The next step up from canes are crutches. Crutches attach to the forearms and help to take some weight off the lower body and distribute it to the upper body for easier and more comfortable movement.
Crutches usually aren’t a good long-term mobility aid. They can be useful after a loved one has undergone surgery or had a fall, for example, and needs a little extra support.
A walker features a metal frame and four legs. Sometimes, the front two legs feature wheels to allow for easier movement. Walkers are larger than canes and crutches, but many of them fold up so they don’t take up too much space and are easy to transport from one place to another.
Walkers work best for those who just need help getting around inside the home. They aren’t ideal for taking out and about, at least not on long journeys, as they can be hard to maneuver across different surfaces.
A rollator is like a walker on wheels. It features four wheels, along with handlebars to provide extra support. Some even have a seat so seniors can sit down and rest for a minute if they get tired.
A rollator is a good intermediary if a loved one needs more support than they can get from a walker or cane but isn’t ready for a wheelchair.
For folks who have a lot of trouble walking, a wheelchair can be an effective option to consider. They don’t necessarily have to use the wheelchair at all times, but having one handy can help them when they need to go out of the house or on days when they’re just feeling more tired or dealing with more pain than usual.
If a wheelchair isn’t sufficient for your loved one’s needs, a mobility scooter might be a better choice. Mobility scooters are a lot bulkier than wheelchairs, but they can also be easier to control. It’s easier to maneuver them outdoors and across different surfaces, too.
How to Choose the Right Mobility Aids
Now that you know what your options are, it’s time to figure out which ones will be a good fit for your loved one. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind that will help you make the right decision:
Talk to an Expert
Before investing in a mobility aid (or two) for your loved one, it’s best to sit down and talk to their doctor.
Their doctor will be able to conduct an assessment and evaluate your loved one’s current mobility issues. They can then provide more insight into which aids are the best option for your loved one’s condition.
Talking to a doctor will help you ensure you’re getting the right size of mobility aid for your loved one, too. You don’t want to spend money on a cane that’s too short or crutches that don’t fit properly, do you?
Consider Your Budget
Next, think about how much you can afford to spend on mobility aids. The more high-tech an aid is, the more it’ll cost you. A cane is much cheaper than a mobility scooter, after all.
When talking to the doctor, be sure to ask them which aids will be the most cost-effective while still providing your loved one with the support and assistance they need.
Ask About Insurance Coverage
Depending on your loved one’s insurance coverage, you might be able to save money on a specific mobility aid by working with their insurance provider.
Instead of heading to the local drugstore or medical supply store, reach out to their insurance company and find out what they’ll cover and if they work with any specific suppliers.
This can save you and your loved one a lot of money, although it can be time-consuming to fill out the necessary paperwork to get the insurance company to pay for the mobility aid (or aids).
Test Them Out
Finally, whether you’ve purchased a wheelchair or walkers for seniors, it’s important to have your loved one test their mobility aids out before committing to using them. This helps you see if any adjustments are needed.
If this is the case, you can send the aids back and have them fixed or exchanged so that they provide your loved one with the greatest amount of support and stability.
Check Out These Mobility Aids for Seniors Today
As you can see, there are plenty of mobility aids for seniors on the market.
Now that you know more about the different tools out there, it’s time to start shopping. Take this list into consideration when you begin looking for aids for your loved one and it’ll be much easier to make the best decisions for their needs.
If you need more help caring for an elderly loved one, be sure to visit the Health section of our site today. You’ll find lots of useful resources there.