How Do You Know It’s Time You Need Mobility Aids for Walking?

Age is but a number—a number that is often associated with frailty and dependence, right? Wrong. With the help of the right mobility aids for seniors, it is possible to lead a fulfilled and independent life while aging in place. With more than 54 million adults aged 65 years and above, this silver generation can make the most of their wisdom and experience! 

Aging seniors often worry whether they will continue to have the strength to move in their homes, visit family and friends, go to the supermarket or enjoy a leisurely walk. Mobility issues indeed affect about 40% of the elderly population. Moreover, falls are a leading cause of injury and fatalities among older adults. Research reveals that one in four older adults falls each year. 

Hence, it is imperative to do away with the stigma associated with aids and understand the telling signs that point to the need for mobility aids for the elderly.

Table Of Content

5 Signs It’s Time to Look for Mobility Aids

Age brings with it some lifestyle changes, and often reduced mobility is the first sign of aging. However, using mobility aids for walking, balance, and stability offer undeniable safety for the elderly, ensuring they lead independent lives. Introducing the right daily living mobility aids for seniors at the right time can help them lead safe and healthy lives. The secret lies in knowing the signs that tell you to look for mobility aids.

  • 1. Frequent falls

  • A misstep while getting out of bed or tripping once in a while is perfectly normal. However, if you notice that falls are a recurring phenomenon, it’s time to take it seriously. 

    Falls are dangerous and can lead to grave injuries like broken limbs, broken joints, head injuries, internal bleeding, bruises, and wounds that take long to heal. Some falls can be fatal too. Falls in the bathroom are very common and especially dangerous. Hence, it’s better to take bathroom safety precautions than suffer later. If you feel you have jelly knees more often than not, it is a sign that your limbs need support from mobility aids for walking like a cane, walker, or rollator. 

  • 2. Missing Out on Social Gatherings or Outings

  • Physical and mental health are closely connected. Poor mental health deters you from moving out and affects physical activity. At the same time, insufficient physical activity reduces your mobility further and keeps you isolated. Hence, it’s no surprise that social isolation is a leading cause of mental health issues for seniors. But it is necessary to break this vicious cycle. Hence, as you age, social gatherings and outings become essential for your physical and mental well-being. 

    However, if you feel less inclined to leave your house, it’s mostly a sign of losing confidence in your bodily movements. At such times, something as simple as a cane can help you regain your balance and make a significant difference in your mobility. 

  • 3. Increased Fatigue 

  • Are you surprised at any recent exhaustion incidents when even standing for a while made you tired? Did a ‘leisurely’ walk fatigue you quickly? If these cases sound familiar to you, it’s is a sign to look for mobility aids for walking and support. 

    When the health of the lower limbs starts to decline, walking or even standing can cause fatigue. At such times, most seniors tend to avoid movement. But we need to understand that less activity increases mobility problems. One can easily manage such situations with the help of mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker with built-in seats. Not only will these mobility aids for seniors enhance their control over movement, but they will also boost confidence and improve physical activity. 

  • 4. Loss of balance 

  • With age, spatial awareness tends to reduce, and balance can become dodgy due to weaker limbs. These factors contribute to poor stability while doing daily activities. Balance in the elderly can be improved by various fun balance exercises for the elderly. However, if you notice that you need the support of walls or furniture to move around, it is a sign that your mobility is suffering. It is necessary to address this issue as poor balance can lead to falls and grave injury. At such times, mobility aids for the elderly like bedside steps or canes provide support and improve balance. 

  • 5. Difficulty in walking and standing

  • Any signs of pain and exhaustion while walking or standing point to possible mobility issues. Age affects your gait, and walking tends to be slower than before. This is normal. However, what’s not normal is feeling pain in your limbs while walking. Sometimes, even standing can cause pain and fatigue. 

    These signs point to the weakening of the lower limbs. Adopting mobility aids for walking can bring great relief by reducing the stress on your lower limbs, enabling you to continue your physical activities and stay independent.

    The Decision to Use Mobility Aids

    choose suitable assistive device

    Mobility aids make life easier for seniors who struggle with physical movement, balance, and stability. Often, people associate a stigma with the use of such assistive devices. However, for many people who have benefitted from them, it brings confidence and independence. 

    After consulting a medical expert, the decision to use a mobility aid must come from the person dealing with mobility issues. Often the wrong use of mobility aids for the elderly results in more pain than support. Moreover, it involves a learning curve and analyzing your needs realistically. 

    Here are a few pointers to consider before deciding on a suitable assistive device.

    1. Health – This is the first thing to consider when you decide to use mobility devices. Analyze your health and know your pain points. Then, consult a medical expert who can advise you about the right mobility aids for walking, balance, and support, or home assistive devices for seniors for fall prevention. 
    2. Purpose – Are you an active person outdoors, or do you travel often? Do you need support while standing or getting out of bed? Such lifestyle differences often dictate the kind of mobility aid you invest in. 
    3. Weight – Not all mobility aids for seniors are the same. Some are designed to be tough, while others focus on lightness. But all mobility aids come with set weight limits. Choose the appropriate one that supports your weight. For example, the Step2Bed step stool comes in different sizes Step2bed Mini and Step2bed XL and weight capacities to match your specific needs.
    4. Environment – Do you need to navigate turns in your house, or is the doorway wide enough for a wheelchair? Mobility aids for seniors should be easy to use around the environment where you spend most of your time. Try to use one around the house before you decide to buy it.  
    5. Budget – Money considerations are also an essential factor while determining the appropriate elderly mobility aid. 

    Ready To Consider a Mobility Aid?

    As more and more seniors choose to age in place, independence becomes vital to lead fulfilled lives. Invest in mobility aids that suit your needs to unlock confidence and safety in your life. Your next step should be to create a safe environment that supports aging in place with the help of modern and dependable mobility devices. Take the next step to health

    FAQs:

    What types of mobility aids are available?

    There are a host of mobility aids for seniors that assist them in walking, standing up, stepping in and out of bed, and the bath. The most popular mobility aids for the elderly are canes, walkers, rollators, wheelchairs, bedside step stools, and grab rails. 

    What is the best walking aid for the elderly?

    The best walking aid for the elderly gives ample support and adds safety to movement. Different people require different aids depending on their level of mobility ranging from simple canes to electric scooters. 

    Who needs mobility aids?

    Anyone who has difficulty walking, standing from sitting, stepping in and out of high beds, or needing help in carrying out their activities of daily living independently can use mobility aids.

    What are some examples of mobility aids?

    There are many mobility aids available to address different mobility issues. The more popular ones are walking canes, crutches, rollators, walkers, knee scooters, wheelchairs, electric scooters, bed step stools, and bathroom safety devices. 

    What aids or support can you use to assist older people in undertaking activities of living independently?

    Other than improving their physical well-being through balance exercises for seniors, older people can use the help of mobility aids that assist them in undertaking activities of living independently. Devices like a rollator can ease walking outdoors, while step stools can help make the bedroom safer. Assistive devices like grabbing sticks allow one to pick up stuff from the floor without bending, while motion-activated lights make living spaces safer at night.

    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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