Page 9 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - December 2018 - 25-12
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Tate C. Goodwin, Director / Manager
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There are three main types available:
1. Single point canes have one tip that
comes in contact with the floor. These are the most common types of walk- ing canes.
2. Multi-point canes have four cane
tips at the bottom. This type of cane, commonly referred to as a quad cane, provides a larger base of support.
3. Bed canes are handles that attach to the side of a bed. A bed cane may be used for those who need assistance in and out of bed. It is not used for walking.
Canes only provide support to one
side of your body. It's important to use the cane on the stronger side of your body. For example, if you have weakness on your right side, use the cane on your left side.
It can take time for users to learn how to walk with a cane. If you don't use it the right way, a cane may increase your risk of falling. A physical therapist can help you use your cane correctly.
Walking with a cane is not as sta- ble as walking with a walker. As a result, those who are very unsteady on their feet may not be able to use a cane.
Canes can lead to fatigue during long outings. You can find walking canes with seats to help address this problem. In addition to canes with seats, there are also models available with storage bags for carrying items on the go.
Crutches are mobility aids that keep weight off one of foot. When properly fitted, crutches provide extra stability for walking. They can help people recover from leg or foot injuries such as a frac- ture, sprain, or strain by reducing the amount of weight placed on the affected lower extremity. Crutches can be height adjusted to suit the needs of different users.
There are three main types available:
• Underarm crutches are designed to be
placed under the arms. They have long metal or wooden frames with tips on the bottom. Normally, underarm crutch- es are intended for short-term use for lower extremity injuries or weakness.
• Forearm crutches have semicircular tops that fit around the forearms with handles below. These crutches take pressure off of the underarm area and are normally recommended for individ- uals who will be using crutches for a long period of time.
• Knee crutches are a single crutch with a platform for the knee positioned on a post. Also called a hands free crutch or a knee walker, a knee crutch supports the injured or weak lower limb when the user walks. You can also find knee scooter models that have wheels on the bottom that allow it to roll along with the user.
Crutches are intended for individu- als who are steady on their feet but are required to reduce weight load on one or both legs. As a result, they are not the best choice for seniors with limited mobility.
Crutches require good arm, shoulder, and hand strength to stay upright. It takes a little practice to learn how to use crutches.
Some people find it uncomfortable to use crutches for long periods of time;
however, crutch padding can be pur- chased to cushion the frame and ease discomfort.
Lift Chairs
Typically, lift chairs are designed to help a user get into a standing or seated position safely. Lift chair recliners are chairs that tilt forward, making it easier for people with limited mobility to stand up and sit down more independently at home. Lifting recliner chairs may have other features like massage and heat to ease pain and stiffness. Most electric
lift chair recliners look like an ordinary piece of furniture. You can find options with many different types of upholstery to match your décor.
The primary drawback to a reclining electric lift chair is that electricity is needed to power the device. Some mod- els feature battery back up that allows the motors to operate even in the event of a blackout.
Motor scooters consist of a chair mounted on a three- or four-wheel frame. A handle is positioned on the front. Users simply press buttons or push a joy- stick to move forward and backward.
Motorized scooters allow users to move independently without exerting as much physical effort as they would with a manual wheelchair. Electric scooters for adults, unlike some wheelchairs, can travel over uneven terrain with ease. As a result, many people prefer electric scoot- ers or electric wheelchair scooters for outdoor activities. Most models include scooter accessories like baskets or bins for storing personal items.
Some mobility scooters are large in size and cannot easily navigate through or turn around in tight spaces like the aisles of a store. Because they are bat- tery powered, handicapped scooters can only travel for a set number of miles before the batteries need to be charged or replaced. Some scooters have removable batteries, so you can carry spares with you for longer trips. Some people may not be able to comfortably or safely sit on the seat of an adult electric scooter. Also, electric scooters with seats are heavier than other mobility aids, which can pose challenges with traveling. However, many scooters can be disas- sembled for easier traveling.
To help decide what is right for you or a loved one talk with your health care provider or physical therapist. Together, you can find the best solution to keep moving as safely and independently as possible.
A mobility aid should also be rou- tinely evaluated by a health care pro- fessional to ensure proper height, fit, and maintenance of the device and that it is being used correctly.
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Senior Times - December 2018
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