As of statistics from 2009, more than four million people in Australia are living with some form of disability. Walking disabilities are the most common among them. Many people feel unsure when walking, the constant fear of falling, slipping or not being able to walk some distance limits their physical activity. Some complain of pain while others feel weak in the knees. This is where walking aids come in.
Walking aids keep the body balanced. It does so by distributing one’s weight equally, so that no joint or bone bears additional burden. This also reduces pressure in the joints, especially that which has been induced due to obesity or weight gain. They maintain a suitable body posture while standing or walking and prevent the risk of injuries related to it. All in all, it will be wise to say that patient handling becomes a whole lot better with the right mobility equipment.
When it comes to choosing the right mobility equipment, an individual may come across hundreds and thousands of companies that offer walking equipments. But not every company offers the best quality and comfort level. Any buyer who is new to this will need some thorough information about what to look for when investing in mobility equipment.
The cost of the mobility equipment is one of the primary concerns of every buyer. But with so many variants available, it is very difficult to standardize a price bracket. Canes will be cheaper than wheelchairs, wheelchairs will be cheaper than electric wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs will be cheaper than mobility scooters, you get the idea, right? Therefore, the cost of the mobility equipment will be determined once the needs are assessed. Will the elderly be better off with an electric wheelchair or a crane?
Since the ultimate goal of any mobility equipment is preventing trips and falls; it is important that the mobility aid is durable and of the highest quality. Any mobility aid, whether made of steel, iron rod or wood must be made to carry the weight of the elderly. It shouldn’t be shaky, uneven or unbalanced.
This is one area where compromise can’t be tolerated. The sole purpose for any mobility equipment whether a walker, cane, scooter or wheelchair is to ensure the utmost comfort for the patient. There have been cases of poorly-manufactured canes and walkers where patients complained of rashes or inflammation on their skin. Unstable mobility aid can increase the discomfort or pain level which shouldn’t be the case.
The most important thing to assess is the kind of mobility equipment needed. The 4 most common have been discussed below.
Cane is the simplest mobility aid used to ease in walking. It transmits the body weight to the floor via a shaft. It is held by hand. When buying a cane, determine what height will be suitable, the material is it made from and whether it is slip-resistant or not.
Scooters are ideal for those who don’t want to limit their walking indoors. Scooters can transport patients from one place to another without putting their foot down. When investing in one, be sure to inspect the comfort level of the seat, whether it has enough leg room and has user-friendly controls.
Wheelchairs are another suitable alternative for scooters. Since scooters need to be driven by the patient, those with weak muscular function find wheelchairs more appropriate and easier to handle. There are two variants of wheelchairs – manual and electrical. When looking for both, be sure to check the brakes, the stability in the wheels, any loose screws, a comfortable padded handle and armrests etc.
Last, we have walkers which offer durability. Quality walkers should be lightweight so that they can be easily transported from one place to another. They should have sturdy and sweat-free rods to hold onto and all four feet must be of the same length.