Aging is part of the cycle of life. Unfortunately, one can escape their destiny of experiencing the physical and mental ailments associated with the aging process. Not only does age affect the most minute details of your everyday life, from getting dressed in the morning to walking down the stairs, but will also, inevitably, limit the extracurricular activities and hobbies you have the luxury of participating in. With deteriorating mobility, your ability to rock climb, bike, and waterski without fear of injury will slowly dissipate. These mobility issues will also demand more focused attention on the basics like walking – primarily while covering long distances.
This is why healthcare experts continuously work to invent safe mobility solutions with state-of-the-art technology to effectively minimize chronic conditions related to inactivity. Some of the most modern and efficient mobility solutions for older adults include canes, walkers, mobility chairs, and wheelchairs – which are ideal for older adults who are disabled. To pinpoint the best mobility solution for the seniors in your life, you’ll want to examine the pros and cons of every solution available on the market.
Walking canes are perhaps the most famous mobility solutions for elders, due to their convenience factor and their unique ability to prevent falls by increasing stability. There are different types of walking canes that can accommodate the mobility needs of a wide variety of patients. The most common type of walking stick is the single-point cane. Other options include three or four-point walking canes.
Before recommending a specific cane for the senior in your life, it’s crucial to understand the needs of their respective gait. A four-point cane might seem a bit of a stretch, yet in the real world, these models are more effective for seniors suffering from spinal complications.
The benefits of a cane stretch far and wide. Firstly, they are convenient. They are also equally efficient, safety-oriented, versatile, and come in a diverse range of models. Because each senior adult needs a cane that is customized to their stability and mobility needs, the diverse stock of canes on the market will help you find the perfect fit for your mobility-aid needs.
Walkers have wheels and frames to ease movement and encourage stability for elderly folks in need of mobility aids. Different types of walkers will be available according to the mobility complications of the patient. For example, two-wheel walkers are standard, four-wheel walkers are idea for spinal issues, and knee walkers are recommended in cases of ankle or feet pain that makes walking difficult or even impossible for a senior.
Traditional walkers can be life-changing in and of themselves, but upright modern walkers are gaining widespread popularity for their features that venture outside of stable support. With the sophisticated technology of upright walkers, users can regain a sense of freedom and self-sufficiency. Logistically speaking, both traditional and upright walkers have a widened grasp on the ground’s surface, thus reaching a larger amount of surface area, which, in turn, reduces the possibility of falls.
An advantage of the walker over other mobility solutions is their ability to spread their weight when walking. Walkers are also lightweight and are easy to fold for on-the-go transportation.
However, one notable setback of traditional walkers is their lack of adaptability, especially in the presence of obstacles, crowded spaces, and poor terrain.
Mobility chairs are remarkable inventions concerning advanced care for seniors. Compared to canes and walkers, the technology of a mobility chair is more convenient than its other mobility-aid counterparts, as it allows seniors to travel with ease, even when they wander outdoors.
If you’re a healthcare professional with compassion for the seniors in your care, you should recommend the equipment that helps your patients reinstate their sense of independence, so they don’t have to rely on a caregiver, such as yourself, to perform basic tasks. If a mobility chair has piqued your seniors’ interests, here are a few reasons why your senior patient should consider a mobility chair.
Portable and convenient
Mobility chairs are more convenient when compared to competing walkers and canes because chances of user burnout are much more unlikely. With canes and walkers, a senior can only walk for short distances, before the experience wrist/back/arm strain or physical exhaustion. Mobility chairs, however, make it possible for a senior to travel long distances, without tire. The equipment of this particular mobility aid also has robust and easy-to-handle steering and/or joystick features which makes it easier for a senior to maneuver.
This means that the patient in your care can resume their daily activities if you’re just out-of-reach. Other convenience-based design elements of a mobility chair include adjustable armrests/backrests and wider seats for comfort. Therefore, you can rest assured that your patient will have a limited chance of experiencing life-altering back pain, neck pain, and other types of bodily discomfort.
Thanks to the increase in demand for mobility chairs, the prices of the equipment have reduced, especially over the past three years. With a wide selection of mobility chairs on the market, you’ll be able to find equipment that matches both your budget and the user’s physical needs and impairments. On average, you should expect that the price of a mobility chair will range from $500 to up to $7000.
Electric wheelchairs are the best alternatives to mobility chairs. However, an electric wheelchair is typically designed for senior patients who require 24/7 support, unlike mobility chairs that are only necessary when engaging in outdoor activities that involve covering long distances. The needs of your patient will determine whether a mobility chair or an electric scooter is a better fit.
To further contrast an electric wheelchair with a mobility chair, an electric wheelchair operates through the use of a joystick, while a mobility chair’s function depends on a tiller and its handlebars. When comparing a mobility scooter with an electric wheelchair, remember, a mobility scooter is equipped with four wheels, while a power wheelchair is built with two large wheels and four smaller wheels for added stability.
Another significant difference between these mobility aid options is that a power wheelchair consists of a footrest platform that is height-adjustable, whereas a mobility scooter’s foot platform varies depending on the type of scooter you purchase. To ensure that your mobility aid addresses your patients’ unique physical and lifestyle needs, you’ll need to dedicate the necessary time to research before you commit.
Benefits of an electric wheelchair for your patients
Convenient to operate
Manual wheelchairs aren’t necessarily a bad idea, but they can be tiring when you have to move your patient from one place to the other on a regular basis. With electric wheelchairs, your elderly patients can move around with ease, without the need for assistance. In terms of practicality, an electric wheelchair can even improve clinical outcomes, as your patient can conveniently seek medical help when necessary.
Power wheelchairs are sturdy.
With adjustable foot platforms and wider seats, electric wheelchairs have guaranteed stability. This is, undoubtedly, an incentive for those caretakers that are consumed with worry over the possibility of your patient toppling over. Above all, electric wheelchairs allow your patients to access places that would require exhausting amounts of effort when opting for a manual wheelchair.
Don’t let the mobility market and its seemingly innumerable list of options overwhelm you as a healthcare provider. When you prioritize the success and well-being of your patients, along with their unique physical impairments and mobility limitations, the choice will be easy. Gift the seniors in your care with a new lease on life by choosing a mobility aid specifically designed for their needs.