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Mobility Equipment

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 28 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Mobility Equipment Mobility Aids

There are many different types of mobility equipment and aids on the market today designed to give a better quality of life to disabled people and others who might find it difficult to get around. Here are just some of the main products which are available today.

Wheelchairs

There are different types of wheelchair to suit different needs.

Manual wheelchairs have a rigid frame or an 'X' frame mechanism. This enables them to be folded inwards when they're not being used. Lighter, folding models are easier to transport which is useful if you have a car. There are also motorised chairs and chairs specifically designed for several kinds of sports. Standard wheelchairs are light and suited to people who weigh up to about 20 stone. You can also get wider and more robust models for larger people. Some chairs have reclinable capacities for added comfort.

When choosing a wheelchair, you should try out many different ones as they all have different capabilities and specifications. Occupational therapists and physiotherapists are able to offer advice taking into account factors such as your age, strength and degree of disability. Other considerations include whether the wheelchair is going to be used predominantly indoors or outdoors and for what purpose. Arm rests, foot rests and neck supports should also be considered. The size of the seat is one of the most crucial factors. Measure the height, width and depth needed and you should add extra height in the backrest if you're also going to be using a cushion. The depth should give you support but you should ensure that the backs of your knees don't rub against the seat.

If you choose a motorised (electric) wheelchair, you need to make sure what batteries they use and how long they tend to last. Service and repair is also a consideration.

Adapting Your Car

There are many cars that have been specifically designed to suit disabled people although you can choose to have your own car adapted to suit your own specific needs. You can make modifications or buy certain kinds of accessories that allow you to get in and out of the vehicle more easily from various access points and there are many different adaptations which allow people with disabilities to still be able to drive. Steering wheel knobs, joystick steering, foot steering systems are just some of the modifications you can make.

Other Mobility Walking Equipment

Walking sticks and crutches should be the correct height and comfortable to use. You can also buy Zimmer frames and wheel walkers. Some have seats fitted to enable you to have rest stops. Size is also very important and you should have handlebars and frames that suit your height. Double wheels tend to be more stable and steel frames more durable but aluminium frames are lighter. You also need to choose handgrips that are comfortable to use. It's only by trying out different apparatus that you can make an informed decision and your physiotherapist can also advise you.

Being physically impaired in many cases does not stop you from getting out and about and enjoying yourself. Today, technology has advanced to take into account all manner of disabilities and physical difficulties and there are several organisations that can help and advise you.

Some useful ones are:

  • Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service (MAVIS)
  • The Forum of Mobility Centres
  • Mobility and General Information Centre (MAGIC)
  • Disabled Living Foundation

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