4 Assistive Devices for the Elderly to Keep Them on Their Feet

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Movement is something we all take for granted when we are younger, and then as age catches up with us, we realize how the muscles become weak, bones lose strength, and balance falters. As more and more seniors opt to age in place, mobility is the key to their independence and confidence. 

Mobility in seniors is also necessary for their physical and mental wellbeing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends moderate physical activity to maintain healthy bones, muscles, heart, and brain function. Also there are various ways and assistive devices like step stools to help seniors.

A recent survey by the Administration on Aging revealed that 40% of Americans aged 65 and above had some form of mobility issue. This number is quite significant considering that 16% of the population are older adults. 

However, there is no reason to feel disheartened by these facts. Regaining mobility with assistive devices for the elderly can help seniors get around quickly and live independently. Several elderly walking aids are available today to suit your medical need and the level of assistance. 

Let’s look at some of the most popular and commonly used assistive devices for the elderly.

seniors wheelchairs walking aids together

Assisted Devices to Keep the Elderly Mobile

With tons of options available these days, it can be hard to select a suitable walking assist device. Whether it’s a bedside step stool or any other device to help someone stand up, mobility aids can make activities of daily living easier for the elderly.  

Canes 

Canes or walking sticks are one of the most common assistive devices for the elderly. For seniors needing help with moving around, canes are non-intrusive and easy-to-use aids for improving stability and reducing the weight on your lower limbs. They come in various types: standard canes, quad canes with a broader base, folding canes, wooden canes, and adjustable ones. Here are two popular canes that suit most requirements.

McKesson Offset Cane

McKesson Offset Cane, Bronze

This cane made with a strong extruded aluminum tube can bear up to 300 lbs. The ergonomic offset handle has a soft foam rubber grip and wrist strap. The offset design reduces hand pressure by spreading the weight evenly over the cane, thus increasing stability and comfort. It has a push-button to adjust the height from 30 to 39 inches, and a locking ring stops it from rattling.

drive™ Quad Cane with Small Base, Chrome

drive™ Quad Cane with Small Base, Chrome

It is a quad cane with a small base making it convenient to carry yet giving the stability of a 4-point base. It has a weight-bearing capacity of 300 lbs. and height adjustment from 30-39 inches at the press of a button with the additional safety of a locking mechanism. The offset handle adds stability and comfort.

Step stool

With age, reaching high shelves or getting in and out of bed becomes daunting for seniors with limited mobility. Step stools can be a great addition to help someone stand up from a sitting position on the bed. Portable step stools are suitable for seniors who do not have balance issues and need support just for a leg up. However, sturdy bedside step stools with grab bars are excellent for entry and exit for those with restricted mobility and help in fall prevention. Choose a step stool after evaluating your needs.

Here are a few reliable step stools that seniors can use as assistive devices.

Step2Bed

Step2Bed

This sturdy bedside step stool made of steel is equipped with several features, such as padded grab bars for full support. The extra-wide non-slip step reduces the risk of tripping. A convenient motion-activated light adds a whole new dimension of safety for seniors for those frequent bathroom trips at night. Moreover, you can adjust Step2Bed to match your bed’s height while withstanding 400 lbs. of weight. The Step2Bed also comes in step2bed mini and step2bed XL dimensions to suit your needs.

Step2Tub

Step2tub

Step2Tub is a bathtub step stool that reduces the risk of slips and falls while getting in and out of the bath. This sturdy step stool made of industry-grade steel with wide 11” and 12.5” non-slip steps has adjustable handrails padded for comfort and better grip. The grab bars and the step stool have height adjustment making them highly convenient. The bath step stool comes with dual clamps that latch on to the sides of a bathtub making it very secure. Step2Tub can bear 300 lbs. in weight to readily install in almost all bathtubs.

Rollators

Rollators are also known as wheeled walkers. Unlike the standard walker that requires the user to pick it up and place it ahead to step, this assistive device for the elderly aids in the smoother movement for seniors who have considerable balance but still need support for their lower limbs. For safety, rollators have handbrakes to quickly stop the motion. 3-wheeled and 4-wheeled rollators are very popular, and most feature a seat and storage and are foldable. Here are two popular choices.

McKesson 4-Wheel Rollator

McKesson 4-Wheel Rollator, Silver

This rollator made with lightweight aluminum has swiveling, non-marking 6-inch caster wheels with soft-grip tires suited for indoor and outdoor use. The Deluxe Loop-Lock System has serrated brakes for added safety. The braking mechanism is easy for slowing down, temporarily stopping or completely stopping the rollator. The cushioned seat and backrest are made of durable polyurethane. The backrest is adjustable and foldable. A zippered storage compartment below the seat makes it easy to store personal items. The rollator has a sturdy frame to bear 300 lbs. in weight and adjustable height (30-37”).

drive™ Duet 4-Wheel Rollator / Transport Chair

drive™ Duet 4-Wheel Rollator

When needed, this two-in-one rollator transforms into a transport chair with a foldable footrest and arm-rest. Ideal for travel, the folding frame has a lock-out feature to ensure the unit stays open while in use and keeps it folded during transport. The 8-inch casters are ideal for indoor and outdoor use. The contoured seat comes with storage below the seat. Handles are adjustable in height (31-37”) with a self-threading knob. This rollator weighs 20 lbs. but can take up to 300 lbs.

Wheelchair

Wheelchairs are a complete mobility device for people who cannot or have limited use of their lower limbs. Manual wheelchairs are the most popular and require better upper-body strength to move the wheels. However, electric wheelchairs are best for people with restricted arm and upper-body movement. Some wheelchairs are lightweight, while others suit larger people. Foldable wheelchairs are also popular for ease of transport. Check out these two options.

drive™ Cruiser III Lightweight Wheelchair

drive™ Cruiser III Lightweight Wheelchair

The new frame form of this wheelchair eliminates seat guides, allowing customized backs and accessories. It has composite Mag wheels and 8” front casters with 3 level adjustments. The front and rear wheels have precision sealed wheel bearings for better performance. The wheelchair has wheel locks with a push-to-lock mechanism for easy braking. The 20” seat has nylon upholstery making it long-lasting, lightweight, stylish, and simple to maintain. The flip-back padded arms are removable when needed. This sturdy manual wheelchair has a weight-bearing capacity of 350 lbs.

McKesson Heavy-Duty Wheelchair

McKesson Heavy-Duty Wheelchair

This manual wheelchair can carry weights up to 450 lbs. Made by using composite mag wheels and 8” front casters, its precision sealed wheel bearings add durability. The 24” seat has a long-lasting and lightweight double-embossed vinyl upholstery that’s attractive and easy-to-clean. The elevating footrests can be swung away when not needed, and it comes with tool-free length riggings.

Final Thoughts

Mobility is important for both the mental and physical health of seniors. Reclaim your independence and confidence by investing in the right assistive aids for the elderly. However, it is also essential to learn how to use them correctly. Often improper use can be detrimental instead of helping you stay mobile. We hope this guide helps evaluate the many choices available to select the most suitable assistive device to keep the elderly on their feet.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get an older adult to stand up from the bed?

You can use a bedside step stool to help the elderly stand up from a sitting position on the bed. The grab bars allow seniors to safely place their weight on the padded grips and step off on a wide landing base before standing on the ground. 

What are assistive devices for the elderly?

Assistive devices for the elderly are tools and aids that help seniors live independent and confident lives. The most common assistive devices are canes, rollators, wheelchairs, step stools and stairlifts.

What is a stand assist device?

Often standing up from a sitting position is a challenge for seniors who struggle with balance and strength in their lower limbs. A stand assist device like a stepstool with handles or twin-level walkers helps older adults shift their weight on the upper body and use the stable devices to leverage movement to stand up. 

What are assistive devices used for?

Assistive devices for the elderly are most commonly used for improving mobility. Wheelchairs, rollators and electric scooters are all assistive devices that help seniors stay mobile and independent. Other assistive devices include grabbing sticks to pick up stuff from the floor without bending or shoe horns that make wearing footwear easy. 

How can I help senior mobility?

You can help your loved ones stay mobile by encouraging them to remain physically energetic and pursue some activity like fun balance exercises that will keep them on their feet. If they need assistive devices, medically evaluate their need and make an informed choice for investing in walking aids.

How do you get an older person to go to bed?

Getting in and out of bed is difficult for seniors facing restricted mobility. It is also dangerous as they may lose their balance and fall. To avoid these problems, look for a bedside step stool with the support that makes getting in and out of bed simple and safe for seniors. 

Vince Baiera

 

Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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