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Maintaining Mobility

Topic status: answered

 » Travel & Mobility
Landesflagge: US
WavnAtCha
Topic creator
Posts: 1
Today's seniors have never been more on the go. Between postponing retirement and participating in sports and activities once relegated to the young, most people over the age of 65 are living much more active lives than their parents did. Given this trend, it is clear that mobility plays a critical role for the geriatric population. Yet by their 70s and 80s, many seniors develop certain disabilities or chronic medical conditions that can seriously impact their ability to stay active. Fortunately, because of advances in mobility aids, a wide array of products are available to help the elderly live as independently and actively as possible.

William Mann, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, chairman, program director, and professor of the occupational therapy department at the University of Buffalo and the director or the Center for Assistive Technology, Buffalo, NY, stresses that enormous advancements in assistive technology have not only made these products more safe and reliable for the elderly, they have also helped enhance mobility for many individuals.

Canes:
The cane is the most widely used assistive device, and in the United States alone, more than 4 million people use them. Canes support up to 25% of a person's weight and may prevent falls. The two types of canes available are single-point canes and quad canes. A single-point cane provides minimal support during ambulation and is appropriate for people who have slightly decreased balance, poor endurance, poor coordination, or muscular weakness.

A quad cane is a cane with four points in contact with the ground. It is available with either a wide or small base. The quad cane is more stable than the single-point cane. People with significant muscle weakness in both the arm and leg on one side of the body, which often happens following a stroke or brain injury, may benefit from the use of a quad cane.
According to Mann, the different materials used in the shaft of the cane can change its weight and feel. Traditional wood is relatively heavy while aluminum is much lighter. "We are also seeing newer, lightweight materials like carbon fiber," he says.

Walkers:
Almost 2 million people in the United States rely on walkers for their mobility needs. Since their introduction more than 200 years ago, walkers have changed dramatically. Originally designed as temporary rehab equipment, walkers have been modified for use in the home and features have been added like wheels, seats, and brakes, along with convenient accessories such as detachable baskets, trays, and walker bags.

Wheelchairs:
Wheelchairs are typically used by seniors with impaired mobility and reduced strength. Wheelchairs often become a necessity due to chronic conditions like arthritis, stroke, or a fractured hip. Today, older Americans use more wheelchairs than any other age group.

During the past 20 years, enormous changes have been made in wheelchair design and construction. "The sad part is that many people are not aware of all the different types of wheelchairs that are available because they end up purchasing one at their local drugstore, which has a limited supply, or a relative lends them one," Mann says. "This is unfortunate since it may be set at the wrong height or is too heavy." Poorly fitting chairs can cause bruises, pressure ulcers, poor posture, and other problems.

Laura Gitlin, PhD, director of community and home care, research division of the College of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, concurs that assistive equipment should not be purchased for an elderly patient without consultation from an occupational or physical therapist. "It is easier to make recommendations about equipment and safety concerns, but when it comes to making the actual choice of a particular piece of adaptive equipment, a rehab professional is necessary," Gitlin says. "There are just too many variables between a patient's diagnosis and individualized needs." Matching the right piece of equipment to a person's needs requires skilled intervention and an interdisciplinary approach.

Scooters:
Three-wheeled mobility systems, also known as scooters, are becoming increasingly popular among the elderly. Scooters are useful for individuals who can walk short distances but need help for long distances. Most scooters have rear wheel drive and front wheel steering. According to Mann, even though scooters have been around for a long time, they have undergone some of the biggest improvements. "The power of the batteries and the speed at which they recharge are the most important changes we have seen with this technology," Mann says. Specifically, power seats, flip-back arms, adjustable bases, gear drive systems that provide 40 miles to a charge, and attractive colors are enhancements found in today's scooters.

Many elderly patients like scooters since they provide a very comfortable ride because they absorb shock. Most can achieve speeds of up to four miles per hour. Scooters are steered with a handlebar, steering wheel, joystick, or push-button controls. Some scooters disassemble easily for transportation in the trunk of a vehicle. "The elderly particularly need to pay attention to how heavy a scooters is if they, or someone else, will have to lift it in and out of a car," Mann says. "The best gauge is to determine if you can lift the largest, heaviest part when the chair is disassembled."

Variety:
You can find a whole variety of durable medical supplies and equipment along with great ideas and articles and links to other forums of interest at http://mobilityoutletmall.com
Written on: 20/10/2011 [19:37]
Die Website für Menschen mit Behinderung und schwerer Krankheit / Community for disabled people
Landesflagge: US
TTGlenn
Posts: 3
Great Article! Mobility aids are boon to people who are growing older, have become injured or are facing long-term disability issues. Disabled people are always in need of some solutions to reduce the effects of their physical disabilities on their daily life. Today one can find a great variety of disability products in the market. This would include smaller items like stocking aids, openers, raisers and bigger items like wheel chairs and Pride Scooters. Right from opening bottles and cans to moving about easily indoors and outdoors, these disability aids help a person carry on with his or her life as normal as possible.

[This article was edited 1 times, at last 21.08.2017 at 06:27.]
Written on: 20/08/2017 [09:03]
Die Website für Menschen mit Behinderung und schwerer Krankheit / Community for disabled people