Page 8 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - December 2018 - 25-12
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Page 8
Senior Times - December 2018
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When a loved one begins to have trouble with mobility, everyday activities and simple outings can suddenly become difficult. Fortunately, there are many mobility devices available to help people remain more independent. Read on to learn more about the most commonly used mobility aids.
There are many factors that need to be considered when selecting a suitable mobility device. Make sure your loved one seeks the advice from a healthcare professional and receives instruction on proper use.
Walkers and Rollators
Rollators and walkers for elderly indi- viduals can make it easier to get around by providing stability and balance sup- port. Because of their lightweight, fold- ing design, traditional and roller walker mobility aids are easy to travel with. Most walkers are height adjustable, so individuals of a wide range of heights can use them.
A standard walker has a folding metal frame with four feet. To use a traditional walker, your loved one will need to lift the mobility aid, move it forward and then step toward it. Walkers can be used in a wide range of settings. You can even purchase specialty pool walker mobility aids for seniors who would like to move independently in swimming pools.
A rollator walker is a walker with wheels. Most are four-wheel walker models, but there are some three- wheeled walkers available. With these rolling walkers, users simply push the frame along as they walk. There is no need to lift a wheeled walker. As a result, rollators may be a better type of walk- ers for seniors who have limited arm strength.
One of the biggest drawbacks to walkers is that they require use of the hands. Some individuals may not be
able to grip a walker for long periods
of time or worry about how they will carry items while using a walker or rol- lator. To address these concerns, some rollator models and walkers come with walker accessories that can hold personal belongings on the go. You can purchase walker trays, walker bag pouches, and walker basket accessories to add onto walkers.
Because walkers and rollators still involve walking, people who become fatigued easily may struggle to use them during long outings. Rolling walkers with seats can help address this concern. A walker with a seat has a fold-down padded platform that can be used when the user needs a break from walking or while standing in line.
and taken with you on the go.
Electric wheelchairs have a built-in
motor the user usually controls with
their hands. Unlike manual wheelchairs, a motorized wheelchair model does not need to be pushed or propelled forward by pushing and pulling on the wheels. Users can simply tap a button or use a joystick type control to move. Although these wheelchairs often fold, some mod- els may be bulkier and heavier than man- ual models. They also tend to be more expensive than manual wheelchairs, making them less than ideal for indi- viduals who are looking for lightweight wheelchairs for occasional use. Access vans with a wheelchair lift can make it easier to travel with a power wheelchair.
Wheelchairs come in a variety of spe- cialty styles.
• Bariatric wheelchairs have an extra
sturdy frame and a higher weight
capacity than traditional wheelchairs. • Reclining wheelchairs have adjustable backs that allow users to sit in a more
relaxed position.
• Standing wheelchairs allow users to
rise from a seated to a standing position
as needed.
• Shower wheelchairs have a more com-
pact design, and are made of rustproof and waterproof materials. Some shower wheelchairs also come with a remov- able commode.
• Transport or transporter chairs have four small wheels. They are designed to be pushed by a caregiver rather than the user. Many models are folding portable wheelchairs that can be used while traveling.
There are options to fit many needs and budgets. Wheelchair accessories
like a wheelchair basket or wheelchair bag make it easy for users to carry items while traveling. Manual wheelchairs also allow for some physical activity to help those with limited mobility get some exercise.
Manual and power wheelchairs are less than ideal for people who have diffi- culty sitting comfortably for long periods of time. A wheelchair cushion or pad can help individuals find a more comfortable position.
A significant concern for the wheel- chair is that they cannot travel up and down stairs. Users may need wheelchair ramps or wheelchair lifts to enter some buildings or move safely through their homes. A portable wheelchair ramp
can be purchased for navigating small flights of stairs, such as steps leading up to a front door. A staircase chair lift or stair lift can be installed in multiple-sto- ry homes to help individuals who use wheelchairs reach higher or lower floors.
Ramp assistance: Area Agency on Aging, CareWell Services SW, Habitat for Humanity, or possibly the MI Choice Waiver program. Your county's senior millage program may also offer assistance.
A cane is a mobility device that consists of a long post and a handle. Canes can help improve balance during walking or compensate for an injury or disability so that it's easier to get around. Lightweight, canes are very easy to trav- el with. You can even purchase folding canes that are small enough to tuck away in a travel bag. Today, walking canes for men and women come in a wide range of colors and designs to function as fashion accessories as well as mobility aids.
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Wheelchairs and Transport Chairs
Wheelchairs are mobility aids that feature a frame mounted on wheels. The traditional manual wheelchair has small front wheels and large back wheels that the user can grip to move themselves for- ward and backward. Many can be folded
By: Glin Winsor, Store Manager, Walgreens

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