Seniors who were once physically robust may develop joint problems as they age. Compounded by additional chronic health problems or injury, seniors are compelled to rely on walking support to get around safely. Mobility aids are crucial to stabilizing seniors as they walk and to preventing falls.
Before splurging on the first cane or wheelchair that seems appropriate, consult a medical professional. A visit to the senior’s physician can start the process of selecting the most fitting mobility aid. The wrong one can lead to posture issues or cause additional pain.
The senior’s doctor will conduct a physical exam and, through a candid discussion, will evaluate how independently the individual performs the activities of daily living. The physician refers the senior to a physical therapist for a mobility assessment and to test the efficacy of various equipment.
Each mobility aid offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Plus, some types of walking support may facilitate movement far more easily for certain elderly individuals than others. Fit is a primary concern. Safety is dependent on choosing and appropriately using the right walking aid.
Canes are suitable for mobile seniors who experience light to moderate mobility issues. These walking aids provide extra balance and serve reasonably well to relieve joint pressure. Moderate arm and hand strength are required for seniors to successfully utilize canes for ambulation.
Averaging $14, budget-friendly canes can be purchased by most seniors on a fixed income. Handle canes, for instance, are durable and feature a locking ring to prevent slips. Disadvantages include handles and cane tips that quickly deteriorate and difficulties with weight distribution.
Maximum weight: 250 pounds
Height: 30 to 39 inches
Unlike a single-pointed cane, a quadpod cane features legs at its base. The legs at the bottom allow the cane to remain upright when not in use. This standalone design is a desirable component when it comes to preventing falls. The average cost for a quadpod cane is under $30.
Given its higher price point than standard canes, the quadpod cane may be slightly out of a senior’s restricted budget. Additional concerns include the cane’s base severing from the cane itself, poor traction on slippery surfaces and the possibility of the cane cracking under heavy weight.
Maximum weight: 300 pounds
Height: 28 to 39 inches
Walking Seat and Cane
Seniors who enjoy mornings sauntering along trails or golfing benefit from the multipurpose walking seat and cane. Such canes are ideal for use in the outdoors. Serving as a cane, the senior experiences physical stability. When rest is needed, the cane may be unfolded to unravel a stool for sitting.
The price point for the walking seat and cane is slightly higher, at $35. Other notable disadvantages include possible interference from the folded seat during walks, a nine-inch diameter seat that may be incompatible for obese or tall seniors and being rather bulky in shape.
Maximum weight: 250 pounds
Height: 32 inches (nonadjustable)
Walking support may be gained from walkers, rather than canes or even, in advanced cases, wheelchairs. Lightweight and lacking wheels, standard walkers are ideal for seniors who are susceptible to falls. The steady support provided by these aids makes them suitable for many.
Seniors who lack upper body strength, however, will experience difficulty maneuvering standard walkers. Despite its lightweight design, these walkers allow very slow movement. Attempting to navigate uneven surfaces while relying on a standard walker will also be a substantial challenge.Maximum weight: 300 pounds
A rolling walker, aka rollator walker, features hand-operated brakes and a three- or four-wheel design. The swiveling wheels make using the rollator walker easier for seniors with good balance. Built-in seats allow rest breaks. Rollator walkers may be used either outdoors or indoors.
The disadvantage of rollator walkers is that the support is bulky and heavy. Attempting to fold one up and pack it into the backseat of a vehicle is rather difficult. A high price point of anywhere from $50 to over $200 also deters many seniors from purchasing a rollator walker.
Maximum weight: 350 pounds
Height: up to 37 inches
When canes and walkers fail to provide substantial support and the elderly individual continues to fall, a wheelchair may be necessary. Manual wheelchairs are available in three types: standard (weighs 40 pounds), lightweight (weighs 35 pounds) and ultra-lightweight (weighs 28 pounds or less).
Wheelchairs require another individual to lift and transport it for use outside the home. Subsequently, the weight of the wheelchair is a significant factor. Plus, wheelchairs come with a hefty price tag: $500 for a manual one and $7,000 on average for an electric-powered wheelchair.
Coming up with the financial resources to purchase a walking aid may be easier than convincing a senior to utilize the extra support. Pride, the desire to remain independent or even the denial of aging are all common reasons elderly individuals obstinately refuse to use a mobility aid.
Persuade the older adult by describing the appeal of using a mobility aid. If the elderly individual falls, for instance, the senior will inevitably wind up in an assisted living facility. The use of a cane, walker or wheelchair, however, substantially reduces the risk of falling.
Understandably, seniors want to travel from the kitchen to the living room on their own. But when full independence is not possible, professional caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care are available to help. With caregivers trained in mobility assistance, seniors experience a new level of independence.
The support of caregivers allows seniors to enjoy brisk walks in the park without fear of falling. Or, our caregivers help weakened seniors out of bed and out of a wheelchair. Caregivers are instrumental in helping elderly care recipients feel physically secure when ambulating, whether at home or outdoors.
Compassionate, dependable caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care are an integral part of the lives of countless families and their elderly loves ones residing in Brookfield, Elm Grove and Pewaukee and surrounding areas in Wisconsin. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (262) 753-6652 to consult one of our home care representatives to become familiar with our comprehensive senior home care services.