As we get older it can become more and more difficult to perform tasks that used to be quite simple. From operating an automobile to getting up the stairs, not everything should be taken for granted. Even walking can prove difficult if not impossible for some senior citizens and disabled people. Fortunately, there are plenty of mobility devices for seniors and others who need help getting around but still want to do it on their own terms.
Walkers and Canes
These two types of mobility devices for seniors have been around for some time. They are relatively cheap, simple in design, and don’t rely on a motor. Walkers and canes make balancing easier when walking. Canes are typically used for people with a single weakened leg, while walkers provide more upper body support to make walking less burdensome on both legs.
Types of Walkers for Elderly People
There are five main kinds of walkers: standard, two-wheel, three-wheel, four-wheel, and knee walker. Standard walkers have four legs that need to be raised up to move. These types of walkers are primarily used for balancing purposes. Two-wheel, three-wheel, and four-wheel walkers make overall mobility easier since they don’t need to be lifted in order to move. Lastly, a knee walker is like a scooter with knee support and typically three or four wheels rather than two.
When walking long distances is no longer an option, wheelchairs are a good way to get around easily. Traditional wheelchairs require manual input to move them. In other words, a person needs to push the wheelchair from behind to move it (attendant-propelled), or the person sitting in the wheelchair needs to push both wheels forward to move (self-propelled). Attendant-propelled wheelchairs typically feature smaller wheels while self-propelled wheelchairs have larger wheels to make maneuvering easier and safer for the occupant.
Mobile Chairs for the Elderly
Modern technology has allowed traditional wheelchairs to evolve into something greater. Mobile chairs, mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, and power chairs are all names for mobility aids for seniors that are powered by an electric motor. Unlike traditional wheelchairs, these devices don’t need an attendant to push them, nor does the occupant need to manually push the wheels forward. Instead, the device is charged ahead of time (usually overnight as charging can take 6 to 10 hours depending). Once the device is charged, it can be controlled by the occupant.
The controls are typically placed at the end of the right or left arm of the chair depending on preference. A joystick is used to control direction and sometimes speed, though many controllers have a separate lever to control speed. Sometimes the console has buttons as well to control horn, signal, lock, and seat adjustment. Some new systems even feature a touch screen display that shows speed, temperate, time, battery life, and more. Electric wheelchairs are handy for both getting around the house as well as in public.
No matter your age or physical condition, it’s important to be able to get around and experience life on your own terms. Today there are many mobility devices for seniors and those with disabilities that make moving easier than ever. In the future, these devices may even be able to move without using a controller. Instead, they would move according to brain signals sent from the occupant’s brain to the device. Research and development are currently underway on this type of technology. So whether you need a cane or an electric wheelchair, you can be sure that you’ll be able to stay mobile for years to come.