Living with a disability can be pretty daunting and depressing. It’s a good thing that today, assistive devices are available to help people with mobility challenges cope with daily life. These devices not just help disabled people become mobile but also help with their mental and emotional difficulties.
A disability can make someone feel dysfunctional and burdensome to their loved ones. The vital role of assistive devices in helping disabled individuals goes far beyond their ability to provide support. Still, in a way, they also make someone disabled functional and less reliant on their families.
The global market value of assistive devices in 2021 is at USD$26.5 billion and is expected to reach USD$50 billion by 2030. This is primarily due to the rising chronic illnesses that significantly impact many individuals’ health.
To help people with disability function better and become a little more independent, listed below are the five types of mobility devices that they can frequently use:
A person who can’t walk for long distances due to pain, old age, amputation, stroke, spinal cord injury, arthritis, or excessive weight may use a wheelchair to move around, go places, and experience life outside of the four corners of their homes.
The wheelchair is the most common mobility device that disabled individuals use. There are different kinds of wheelchairs depending on the needs of a disabled individual. A manual wheelchair that needs to be pushed through the wheels can’t be used by a hemiplegic. A motorized electric wheelchair allows a person with weak muscles on one side of their body to go anywhere they wish without relying upon anybody to push the wheelchair around.
A transport wheelchair is lightweight and has small wheels, ideal for use during visits to the park or the mall since the caregiver will have a comfortable time pushing the wheelchair around and won’t suffer from sore wrists. The caregiver won’t be subjected to repetitive motion injury from pushing a heavy weight outward for longer than two hours. The transport wheelchair weighs less than 15 pounds compared to traditional wheelchairs that could weigh as heavy as 40 pounds, putting a strain on the caregivers’ wrists and arms.
Disabled individuals that have regained a little strength in their body and can stand and walk may use a cane to assist with their walking and to help provide balance and support when they’re standing.
A cane is crucial for a disabled individual since using this takes some of the pressure or weight on one of the legs and gives a sense of security when walking.
There are various types and styles of canes for use by disabled individuals. They can be made from wood or metal, and even carbon fiber that is lightweight and sturdy. Canes may also come in various colors. But what’s vital with canes is their rubberized bottom so they will not slip and cause injury on wet surfaces and a functional grip handle that could be curved or straight depending on who will use it.
Somebody who needs extra support when walking or standing may need to use a quad cane with four legs or prongs. Another thing with using a cane is that it should have an adjustable height so the person using it won’t suffer from back pain.
For lower extremity injury, a disabled individual may use crutches. It helps with ambulation by transferring the body weight from the legs to the torso and arms. There are three types of crutches; underarm, forearm, and gutter crutches. Using suitable crutches will help with mobility and prevent further injury. Forearm and gutter crutches are used for patients with partial weight bearing.
Mainly used to improve the mobility of the aging population, walkers provide additional support to maintain balance while walking. Some walkers have two front wheels, while others have four wheels called rollators. Aside from being used by the aging population, those who are morbidly obese have also been using walkers to assist them in going around.
Mobility scooters are motorized vehicles that help disabled individuals move around freely and gain little independence, especially when shopping or visiting the park with their family. Mobility scooters have larger seats that can carry more weight and are easily maneuvered. They run at a maximum speed of 8mph and come with a basket in front.
Having many choices to help a disabled individual function as close to normal is a great relief for anyone suffering from mobility concerns. Any device enabling a disabled person to carry out daily activities and participate actively in the family and community can significantly help their physical and mental well-being.