A mobility aid is a broad term that is applied to anything that is designed to assist someone with walking, moving, getting up or down and to help with travelling.
The term ‘mobility aid’ is also freely used to categorise any item or object that aids in the action of performing any daily activity or function in life that doesn’t necessarily involve walking.
For example, bath hoists, commodes, ramps and rails.
There are many more which are explored in my other posts, but in this post i will breakdown the types of mobility aid that are in relation to movement and travelling.
A walking stick or cane is perhaps the simplest form of a walking aid.
The stick or cane is held in one hand, sometimes people have two sticks or canes, one for each hand. This helps with balance when walking and standing and aids the legs and knees by taking some of the pressure off them and instead placing it onto the stick through the hand and wrist.
Whilst you mainly only see people who have a broken leg or ankle for example using crutches they are still an excellent mobility aid. They might not be used long term, like a wheelchair or walking stick but they are extremely effecting in aiding mobility by enabling people with the use of only one leg to walk with ease.
Walkers / Zimmer Frames
There are two major types of mobility aids in the style of a walker.
The ones with four points of contact, like a tradition zimmer frame. There usually have two small wheels which aid with the pushing and moving of the frame. The other two point of contact are two sturdy feet which help to keep the person balanced. The idea of a zimmer frame is to enable to person to have a point of contact to use with their hand at all times, (if they were in the house they might have hand rails to hold on to.)
The other style of walker is the mower modern three wheeled trike frame. Three very sturdy wheels enable the person walking to have a very comfortable and smooth walking experience, whist always having the support and contact of the handle bars. This s type of walker does not need to be lifted off the ground in order to move forward, which means it is ideal for storing bags and shopping in the built in basket.
This mobility aid is controlled using brakes, which are activated by pressing the triggers on the handle bars – much like a bicycle.
Conveniently, some walkers also double as a seat, when the breaks are applied. Ideal if you get tired after walking for a distance.
Wheelchairs and scooters
These are a very practical and effective solution to all mobility aid needs. Some are pushed by the person standing behind the wheelchair, these are ideal if the person sitting in the wheelchair is particularly frail.
The second type of wheel chair is the self controlled ones, these types of wheelchair are often adopted by younger people with disabilities, they enable the wheelchair user to have compete freedom and to be able to travel alone, without needing to be pushed.
The third type of wheelchair is a the motorised ones, these are usually more bulky and expensive, but enable the wheelchair user to be able to navigate up and down hills easily and not have to rely on arm strength to push the wheelchair along.
Mobility scooters are a fantastic type of mobility aid for people who can’t walk far, who don’t have access to a vehicle. Mobility scooters can be used for longer journeys, perhaps to the local shops or around town or the seaside. They have a large battery and are operated like a moped.
Some mobility scooters can be used on the roads, at 8mp, whereas some are limited to off road only, they can be driven on pavements and in all public places.
Stairlifts and chair lifts
A chair lift is a necessity for many people in their homes if they struggle to get up and down the stairs. Especially for elderly people, the stairs can become a dangerous area of the house if they are not confident with the stairs.
The chair lift has to fitted by an engineer and chairlifts can be quite expensive. But for many people, the only other option is sleeping and living downstairs. This is obviously a problem if you I’ve in a small house or the bathroom is upstairs.
There is help out there to get a stair lift for you in your own home, depending on your level of ability you may be entitled to help.
These are the main types of mobility aids, that help people to physically move around and to make travelling easier.