Mobility aids are an invaluable resource for people with limited or impaired mobility. If a person faces some challenges with walking around, whether due to injury, illness, or other circumstances, a mobility aid can help them get around without assistance and help maintain their quality of life.
Walkers are mobility aids that provide support and balance while one is walking. It is effective for people with difficulties with walking or mild balance problems. This site details walkers for older adults and how to find the most suitable one for a person’s needs.
Various signs suggest a person might need a mobility aid, including difficulty walking or climbing stairs, pain or fatigue in the legs, etc.
In this article, we’ll explore some common signs that indicate a person may need a mobility aid and why it’s essential to seek assistance from a healthcare professional in obtaining a mobility aid device if you’re experiencing any of these signs.
What is a Mobility Aid?
A mobility aid is designed to help people with various physical limitations, such as walking and standing from a seated position. They are similar to assistive devices but specifically for people with mobility challenges.
Mobility aids help people with limited mobility regain their independence so they can easily carry out their daily routines. Common mobility aids include walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, and standing aids, and the specific type used depends on the person’s health and needs.
Additionally, wearable aids like braces, splints, and supporting garments can be helpful for people who experience joint stiffness or pain.
4 Signs That You Might Need a Mobility Aid
- Frequent falls
Falls may happen occasionally, but it becomes an issue if they occur too often. Frequent falls can cause severely broken limbs, internal bleeding, head injuries, etc. General body weakness, cognitive challenges, or injuries can cause falls.
A person who experiences difficulty standing erect or walking without falling should consider switching to a mobility aid that suits their needs.
- Frequent fatigue
Standing or walking for extended periods can cause fatigue, which can be common among older adults. If someone regularly feels tired after only a few minutes of moving around or standing, they may want to consult a doctor about the possibility of using a mobility aid.
A mobility aid such as a wheelchair or scooter can help one travel long or short distances without expending significant energy.
- Moving around causes pain
If a person faces difficulty walking short distances due to pain in their knees, ankles, or limbs, it may be a sign to switch to a mobility aid.
That being said, pains in these body parts may not always indicate the need for a walking device. Sometimes, a simple massage, therapy, or medication can relieve the discomfort. Other times, however, the doctor might recommend a mobility aid.
A simple walking cane can allow you to move around without pain so that you can conveniently go about your day-to-day activities.
A severe injury, such as broken hips, limbs, or internal bleeding, might prevent someone from walking or engaging in regular routines. These injuries might be due to several factors like accidents or regular participation in physically tasking activities.
Therefore, limiting engagement in physically demanding exercises and other physical activities as one grows older is essential. There are several easy and simple activities for older adults to engage in to maintain a healthy, active, and fun-filled lifestyle.
An injury shouldn’t stop a person from enjoying their hobbies. An injured person can stay active with the appropriate mobility aid, participating in their favourite activities without assistance.
Types of Mobility Aids
There are various mobility aids available, and it’s crucial to find the one that best fits your needs and meets your physical needs.
These are standard mobility aids used to support people when walking. Particularly those with joint or knee pain. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs.
One can use this device indoors and outdoors. But it’s not recommended for more strenuous activities like hiking.
These are common mobility aids primarily used after an injury or surgery. They take some body weight off one’s legs, helping one walk better and easier. Crutches have various styles, including underarm, forearm, and gutter crutches.
Wheelchairs are used by people who require long-term mobility assistance. They are designed for indoor and outdoor use, although they may only be suitable for some terrains when outside.
- Standing aids
Standing aids can help you stand upright at a counter or desk. They can also be helpful if you have difficulty rising from a seated position.
- Mobility scooters
Mobility scooters are electric-powered vehicles suitable for individuals with limited mobility. Scooters come in various types, including 4-wheel, 3-wheel, and portable types — each with unique features.
These devices also come with seated options that can be very helpful for certain individuals with specific conditions that make it hard for them to remain standing for long periods.
The Importance of Seeking Professional Help
Challenges with walking or moving can affect one’s ability to perform simple tasks or participate in their favourite activities. That said, mobility issues are sometimes temporary and may improve over time.
Experiencing one or more of the signs mentioned above should prompt a visit to a medical expert to ascertain the cause and extent of the mobility challenge. This is helpful to determine if a mobility aid is required and the most suitable type.
A medical expert can help identify the cause of any mobility issue and may provide treatment, such as prescribing medication or recommending a form of physical therapy to promote improved mobility. A physical therapist can assist persons with limited mobility and offer recommendations for mobility aids that may be helpful.
Mobility aids can significantly improve the quality of life of its users, increasing their sense of independence, self-sufficiency and self-esteem. They can help one move around more efficiently, perform daily tasks, and reduce the risk of falling significantly, so it’s a good idea to get a mobility aid if you recognize any signs.
Always remember that before using any mobility aid, you should consult your physical therapist or doctor for expert advice on the type that best suits your needs.