Helping senior adults stay safe and independent can be daunting, especially when they are reluctant to accept proper help. This is even truer when it comes to convincing them to use mobility aids like wheelchairs, walkers, and canes that can help them move around without any hassle and enjoy greater freedom for long. That’s why you need to approach the subject with compassion and a little creativity.
What’s even worse is that the odds are deeply stacked against them. Here are some startling stats from the CDC that’ll send chills down your spine:
- Fall & slips are the biggest causes of fatal injuries among American seniors
- Every 19 minutes, a senior aged 65+ succumbs to death because of a fall
- Every 11 seconds, an ER treats an older adult aged 65+ for a fall injury
- Fall injuries among older adult Americans cost over $50 billion annually, and the financial toll is expected to hit almost $68 billion by 2020.
No matter how you look at it, this is a grave issue, and mobility devices can come in especially handy. The bigger question is: which mobility aid or equipment is right for your beloved older adult? Consider the following tips to choose the perfect mobility device for you or your loved one:
- How long will the mobility device be in use every day?
- Does the senior have enough strength (both mental and physical) to use a manual device?
- Will the senior need help with the transfer in & out of the mobility aid?
- When and where your loved one needs help with mobility most – Will the senior need the device mostly at home? Need mobility help outdoors, indoors or both? Does he or she need help when getting up from bed to bathroom nightly? If that’s the case, you probably need a cane, not an expensive power wheelchair.
5 Most Common Mobility Devices for Utmost Freedom and Safety of Older Adults
Walkers are used by nearly 5% of American adults aged 65+. They offer greater mobility and can do wonders for seniors with balance issues, lower-body weakness & pain. They come in three versions: rollators (equipped with wheels on each leg), knee walkers (similar to rollators but feature a knee-resting pad), and walker-cane hybrids.
Canes are the most common type of mobility devices. They help older adults maintain good posture while walking more comfortably and more safely. One in every 10 seniors uses a cane. They also come in a variety, including quad canes (four legs at the base for better stability), forearm canes (design for better distribution of weight), and white canes (for those who’re visually impaired).
Installing a motorized stair lift can make it easy for seniors to go up and down the stairs. It’s a lifesaver when it comes to preventing falls.
There are both manual and electrically-powered wheelchairs. In either case, wheelchairs are designed to help seniors with lower body weakness to move around. Manual wheelchairs are for those with sufficient upper-body strength, while power wheelchairs are designed for seniors who need full-time mobility help both indoors and outdoors.
(5) Mobility Scooters
The beauty of mobility scooters is that they are usually accepted by seniors without a fuss. They are a great choice for older adults who don’t have enough balance and strength to use walkers or canes but need occasional mobility assistance outside.
There you have it – 5 most common kinds of mobility devices designed to help seniors achieve more independence, deal with pain, and stay safe.