MOBILITY AIDS LEARNING CENTER
FALL PREVENTION & MOBILITY AIDS
Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. Many falls do not cause injuries. But one out of five falls does cause a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head injury. These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own. Research has identified many conditions that contribute to falling. These are called risk factors. Many risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency (that is, not enough vitamin D in your system)
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of medicines, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect balance and how steady you are on your feet.
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Home hazards or dangers such as broken or uneven steps, throw rugs or clutter that can be tripped over, and no handrails along stairs or in the bathroom.
Most falls are caused by a combination of risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling. 1
Physical activity helps maintain muscle strength and range of motion and are important to the health of older adults. If lower body weakness, difficulties with walking and balance or foot pain are risk factors that are relevant to you or a loved one, mobility aids can help make walking and mobility safer and easier.
Canes offer stability for an individual who is able to walk. There are different options for canes including standard canes/ straight canes, quad canes, offset canes, bariatric canes, folding canes, and seat canes.
- Standard or Straight Canes focus on balance support and come with one base point. Medical canes also come with a handle (some are contoured) and tips that can be replaced. Derby canes also fall into this category and are considered more of a designer cane.
- Offset Canes are designed to provide balance support. The “J-shape” handle helps with individuals with wrist problems. Offset canes also help distribute body weight over the cane’s shaft for increased comfort. >
- Quad Canes focus on balance and stability support. Quad canes come in small base quad canes and large base quad canes, depending on the level or support needed. Quad canes offer more stability because the base of a quad cane has four points at the end and therefore are a better option for individuals requiring more support.
- Bariatric Canes are designed for bariatric individuals. Bariatric canes typically come in bariatric quad canes and bariatric offset canes due to the extra support provided by these cane types.
- Folding Canes are typically adjustable in height and can fold for easy storage. Most of these canes are standard or derby canes that come apart in sections.
- Seat Canes provide sturdy support when closed, much like a straight cane, and offer a comfortable seat to rest when open. Typically, a seat cane has a tripod design to ensure stability while seated. Other types of seat canes could be sling canes in which the cane acts like a quad cane while closed and opens into a sling seat to provide extra stability while opened as a seat.
In addition to determining what support level you need from a cane, to make sure the length fits properly, allowing for a slight bend in the elbow. A cane that’s too long is hard to use, and a cane that’s too short can make the user more unsteady.
WALKERS & ROLLATORS
A walker or rollator is a great option for someone who needs more stability than a cane. The four legs and two-handed grip make walkers and rollators very steady and stable options for those who need more support. Both walkers and rollators come in 2, 3 and 4-wheel models and typically fold up, making transportation easy.
- Walkers generally have four legs with feet and need to be lifted while walking. Walkers require individuals to place their weight on the walker using their arms to obtain balance, therefore arm strength is something to consider. Majority of medical walkers are adjustable to meet various heights and weights. Bariatric walkers are also available for larger individuals. walker accessories are also available such as rubber tips, gliders, walker baskets and totes.
- Rollators have wheels to make moving around easier, which is ideal for individuals who have problems lifting a walker. This will also prevent arm and back muscles from being overworked. Four wheel walkers have front wheels that make turning easily and typically come with hand brakes to ensure safety as well as a padded seat. Most rollators have are adjustable for seat height and handles. Bariatric rollators and accessories are also available.
Simply Medical carries a variety of brand name walker and rollators including, but not limited to, and Drive Medical walkers and Drive Medical rollators, Carex walkers and Carex rollators , Mertis Health Products rollators , and Invacare Walkers.
TRANSPORT CHAIRS & WHEELCHAIRS
When walking is too cumbersome or not an option, a transport chair or wheelchair is a great mobility option. Transport chairs and wheelchairs allow the individual to sit and get pushed by another person or push themselves.
- Transport chairs are often smaller than standard wheelchairs. Transport chairs tend to have the same weight capacity as wheelchairs but are lighter in weight. Due to the smaller size, transport chairs are designed to fold and transport easily, hence the name. Transport chairs require an individual to be pushed from behind and are ideal for people who can still walk by themselves, but tire easily.
- Wheelchairs have two large wheels in the back and smaller wheels in the front. The major difference between a wheelchair and transport chair is wheelchairs can be self paralleled. Wheelchairs are intended for individuals with limited to no mobility and need to sit and be transported majority of the time. Wheelchairs are heavier in weight due to the wheels and are not as easily transferred as transport chairs.
This helps prevent falls, ensure the safety of you or a loved one with the right mobility aid device. Having the correct mobility aid will not only be safer, but lead to more independence.
Source:1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
This content is provided for informational purposes only. SimplyMedical.com has not verified the accuracy of the information contained in this article, which is presented on an “as is” basis. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or vigorous physical activity or making any changes to existing treatment or activities. Do not delay seeking or otherwise disregard medical advice based on the content presented here. The product information contained in this document, including the product images and additional product materials, was collected from various supplier sources. All product claims and specifications are those of the product suppliers and have not been independently verified by Simply Medical. Simply Medical is not responsible for errors or omissions in the product information. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2018 SimplyMedical.com. All Rights Reserved.