Most adults in retirement depend on mobility aids for seniors to move around.
And if you’re new to taking care of elderly parents, choosing the right ones can be tricky.
So today I’m sharing tips on how to find the best devices and avoid unnecessary costs.
Caregivers need to make the necessary changes to provide mobility help for seniors.
The use of mobile devices for seniors can help them move around with ease.
Using mobility aids for the elderly can help increase their confidence and self-esteem. It can also help them feel more freedom and independence.
But the best mobility aids for seniors won’t work if you get the wrong one.
A specialist can help seniors learn how to do complicated maneuvers. Consult a physical therapist to help you choose the right mobility aids for your loved one.
The best mobility aid will depend on the senior’s condition. Here are some of them:
Canes are often referred to as walking sticks.
It can provide extra stability by reducing strain on the legs and back. It can also help relieve pressure on sore knees, hips, ankles, and feet.
Canes are inexpensive. There are accessories available to replace parts with normal wear and tear.
Canes are available in different options to fit the needs of the elderly:
Standard/ straight cane
This is the most common type of cane. This option is ideal for users who need a little extra stability.
This model has a height adjustment capability.
This type features a specialized handle. This makes it easier for the user to grip.
It is like a standard cane except it has a metal, 4-legged base. It’s a little heavier than a standard cane but provides more stability and support.
A common disadvantage is that it requires the user to have enough arm strength to maneuver. People who suffer from hand pain will find it hard to use this.
The right measurements will ensure proper support and posture for the user.
Walkers give more stability than canes. It's the best option for seniors who have the strength to lift the walker, set it down and step forward.
It’s used for elders who have poor balance and weak legs. It can serve as a rehabilitation aid for patients recovering from movement-related surgery.
Walkers may not suitable for elders who get tired faster.
Walkers are difficult to maneuver because of their bulky frames. Using the stairs can be challenging. It can also result in a poor back posture with prolonged use.
Standard Walkers are the most stable type of walker for the elderly. It features 4 legs and provides better support than traditional canes and crutches.
Wheeled Walkers are also an option. They have two wheels up front and gliders on the back.
One advantage is that it doesn’t need lifting, this allows for a more normal gait pattern.
Rollators are 4-wheeled walkers with breaks and a seat. Your balance must be better to use this device.
The seat and breaks come in handy for those with minimal balance difficulty, but increased shortness of breath with activity. They offer a convenient place to rest when out an about.
Wheelchairs are ideal mobility devices for seniors who have trouble walking. Getting the proper fit is important to avoid movement limitations.
There are two types of wheelchairs you can choose from:
These types of wheelchairs need manual force to be able to move. Assess the user’s strength and ability to maneuver the device.
Seniors need significant upper body strength to use it alone. Having a companion to push from behind will help.
Selecting the right wheelchair is crucial if they will spend the majority of their time in it. Common problems include poor blood circulation, digestive issues, and pressure sores.
Choose a chair that enhances posture. Consider the seat width, height, and depth so that the user can feel most comfortable.
Powered wheelchairs are the best option for those with significant limitations. It’s perfect for seniors who have had a stroke or brain injury.
These chairs are customizable. You can request the supplier to add adjustable leg rests. Seats that recline and tilt are also available.
Consider the senior’s lifestyle when looking for the best-powered wheelchair. Indoor-powered wheelchairs are usually three-wheeled. The mid-wheel control is helpful when turning on hallways.
The four-wheel type is best for seniors who love the outdoor lifestyle. It allows more security and stability when traveling over rough roads and terrains.
Store these powered wheelchairs near a power source when not in use. Charge it overnight to ensure that it doesn’t run out of power during the day.
Senior mobility scooters are small motorized vehicles. They can improve the lives of seniors because it gives them the ability to travel further.
Mobility scooters are different from powered wheelchairs. It has handlebars to control the wheels and a flat area for the feet. Powered wheelchairs have a seat and a control pad on the armrest.
Senior mobility scooters run faster than a powered wheelchair. It’s bulky and heavier which makes it perfect for outdoor use.
This is ideal for seniors who have a good balance. They must be able to sit upright, stand, and walk a few steps without help.
Like powered wheelchairs, it also runs on a motor.
Senior mobility scooters often cost more than a powered wheelchair.
One disadvantage is that seniors can get completely dependent on this device. They might forgo the need to use their legs to walk around even in short distances. The sedentary nature can result in decreased functional capability.
Making the home safe shouldn’t cost a lot of money.
There are assistive devices that are simple to use. Some of them are inexpensive. Sophisticated products may need a bigger investment.
Seniors living alone face the greater challenge of mobility.
As a caregiver, you need to make sure that their home is accident-free. Consider having it assessed by an occupational therapist or a physical therapist.
Technology can help seniors with mobility.
You can keep seniors safe at home by installing Medical Alert Systems.
Let’s talk about some of the smart trackers and wearables that the elderly can use.
Activity trackers and smartwatches can help seniors live healthier lives.
Some devices can track a senior’s physical activity and sleep. It may also include a step counter, calorie counter, or fitness trackers.
Smartwatches are great for seniors who need to monitor heart rates.
It's also a great way to track calorie intake and activities.
Some even have everyday apps like weather forecasts and calendars.
Smartwatches can help in medication monitoring, location detection, and movement monitoring.
It can also share information with family members, caregivers, and health care providers.
GPS trackers come in several forms. It can be a wearable watch or a tag attached to a keychain or clothing.
These devices work best for seniors with dementia. Its locator function helps caregivers find them in case they wander off. Consider connecting it to a Silver Alert Program, if that’s available in your state.
It is also important to note that most GPS trackers come with a monthly subscription fee.
In-house Medical Alert System works by ringing an alarm throughout the house. This is a practical alternative to yelling or waiting for help to come.
These devices work best in accident-prone areas. Add one to the kitchen and bathroom where slips and falls are common.
Most of these devices also don't have a monthly fee.
Life alert necklaces and bracelets work best during emergencies.
It features an emergency calling service. It connects the user to an emergency operator who will notify the authorities or the family.
To use this, you must purchase the device and then pay for a monthly subscription.
Mobility aids for the elderly can be expensive. But there are ways for you to get the best bang for the buck.
There are also organizations that provide mobility equipment for elderly people.
They can help you secure a wheelchair and even senior mobility scooters for free.
Your health insurance can help cover the costs.
You may also reach out to grants, charities, and other organizations for help.
The American Outreach Foundation can also give financial support to low-income families.
Latter-day Saint Charities provide assistance to the elderly as well.
This organization gets its contributions through member donations. And they have been providing for indigent communities worldwide.
One of their projects includes providing wheelchairs, senior mobility scooters, and walking aids.
Taking care of the elderly need not be expensive. All you need to do is to know where to look.
Get more tips about how to find financial support for seniors here.
There are different mobility aids for seniors available in the market.
The key is to find the best ones that suit your loved one’s needs and comfort.
It’s recommended to use smart devices along with these mobility aids. This way you’ll get notified in case of emergencies.
Get more tips on keeping your mom safe at home.
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That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!