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Guide to Mobility Assistive Devices-Mobility Aids for Seniors

The following are mobility assistive devices for seniors available today. We all know assistive canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. In the first section, there are aids for seniors with reduced mobility after that there are devices for seniors who are unable to walk.

This guide will help you understand which device is the best for your particular situation. If you have permanently reduced mobility you may choose cane, walker, wheelchair or mobility scooter. But if you have temporary problems you may choose knee walker or crushers.

Mobility aids can improve mobility, even in cases where seniors might not be able to walk anymore. Using it can maximize seniors’ independence and promote activity. Let’s take a closer look at each type.

RELATED: Tips to improve walking.

Types of mobility Assistive devices

Mobility aids for Seniors with Reduced mobility

Mobility aids featured in this section can help those slightly affected due to a condition such as osteoarthritis or arthritis. They can be used inside or outside, usually are lightweight, foldable and easy to use.

Assistive cane

Canes are made to provide stability and compensate for small balance issues, they are not as stable as walkers. There are numerous types of assistive canes, but they can all be grouped as a single point and quad canes.

Single-point canes can have different types of handles and are commonly made of aluminum. A quad cane has a wider base with four points on the lowest part which makes it more stable. They are heavier and a little more complicated to manage. Quad canes are often used with individuals who suffer from paralyzed half of the body.

Mobility Walker

Mobility walkers for seniors are for those with notable stability problems but average upper body strength. Walkers are commonly made out of aluminum so they are light enough to be moved easily. Many of them can be foldable and adjustable.

They often have ease grips made of foam or rubber to increase the user’s comfort. Some have a front handle that pitches lower on the user’s side, which allows you to use it for leverage to pull yourself up from a chair or bed. The end of the legs is usually covered with rubber caps that are designed to prevent slipping.

They are much more supportive compared to crutches and canes but do take up more space while walking. While most of these walking accessories will have four legs, options with three are also available.

What are the different types of walkers? There are four types available, this includes basic, wheeled walker, rollator and knee walker.

Crutches

Crutches are a pair of tall canes that should be placed underneath your arms. Crutches allow walking safely while keeping weight off the injured leg. They can be used as a single accessory or as a pair. When using both, weight is balanced equally between the two crutches and allows you to maintain balance.

Right use leads to notable energy expenditure and requires a significant amount of arm and shoulder strength. For this reason, they are normally not the best choice for the older population.

But in some cases, crutches can be very useful even for seniors. For instance, if you had a knee replacement you should use it for the first few days following the procedure.

So, what types of crutches are there? Commonly, there are four different types of crutches like underarm, forearm, platform, and leg support crutches. You should choose the type depending on your mobility problems.

Orthopedic mobility aids

Orthopedic aids are often used in recovery from injury or to help ease the pain. They range from knee braces, braces for the back and spine, elbow supports, ankle braces to cervical neck collars and shoulder braces. Most are made from breathable fabrics that offer excellent compression support, however, there might be some skin irritation or swelling.

Mobility aids for Seniors who are Unable to walk

These mobility aids are for those who live with a disability and can’t move around without assistance. In general, we can divide these into different kinds of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Wheelchair

A wheelchair is a mobility aid for people who are unable to walk safely on their own, as well as for cases when it is critical to avoid putting pressure on the lower limbs. This mobility aid features a chair-like structure, where you can sit in, with four wheels that allow you to move around.

How many types of wheelchairs are there? Well, there are numerous different types of wheelchairs to choose from and just as many deviations in the needs of wheelchair users. It is essential to carefully think about what your needs are and how different chair models can meet them.

First, there are manual or power wheelchair. Second, there are many different types of it, like an ergonomic or ultra-light wheelchair which gives increased stability, better weight distribution and reduce the risk of spinal injury and pressure sores.

There are reclining wheelchairs, which enable a reclined position, that can help take the pressure off hip and back injuries.

If you need a wheelchair that can support more weight there are also bariatric chairs.

Mobility Scooter

A mobility scooter has a seat and three or four wheels, sometimes a flat area for the feet, and handlebars in front to turn the steerable wheels. They are usually more affordable than powered wheelchairs.

There are two types, front or rear-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive scooter is usually a smaller device and is best used indoors. Indoor scooter is usually portable and lightweight, easily foldable and not recommended for everyday use.

Rear-wheel drive scooter is used both indoors and outdoors. The outdoor version offers longer-range and more battery durability, these are recommended for seniors that anticipate a lot of outdoor usage. There are are also heavy-duty options, which can carry up to larger weight.

Comparisons/what and when is the best?

Cane vs. Walker

Before making a choice between walkers vs canes you should evaluate exactly how much of your body weight do you need to support.

Canes can hold up to 25 percent of your bodyweight whereas walkers can support up to 50 percentage. If you have mild balance problems and experience the pain on one side of hips or knees the cane might be the right for you.

On the other hand, if you have balance problems and experience the pain on both sides of the hips or knees you should choose the walker.
When choosing between walkers vs assistive canes, it is recommended to consult with a medical professional before making any decisions.

Knee Walker vs. Crutches

For elderly people with mobility issues after surgery, a knee walker may be the better choice because they don’t require any upper body strength to use. With walkers, there’s less worry of slipping on smooth surfaces.

One of the main drawbacks to choosing a knee walker is that they’re more expensive than a simple pair of crutches. Also, knee walkers cannot be used on stairways, which may be a problem for some people.

But crutches allow for a neutral position of the back. They’re also easy to travel with, more than with the walker, which makes them a great option for people who are always on the go.

Walker vs. Wheelchair

The right choice between walker and wheelchair depends on what your capabilities are.

Mobility walker might be recommended if you can walk by yourself but feel that you need additional support for balance on both sides of your body. If you have good arm and hand function to move the walker forward while walking. If you find that you are continuously holding onto the walls and furniture for the support think of walker.

On the other hand, a wheelchair is advisable when you are no longer able to walk functional distances independently in a safe way, meaning that you cannot go from point A to point B without getting too exhausted or experiencing increased fear of falling.

Electric Wheelchair vs. Mobility scooter

This comparison between the electric wheelchair and the mobility scooter will help you understand the differences between the two. The right choice of mobility aid depends on how you are planning to use it and what are your needs.

Scooter is useful for seniors with systemic or whole-body disabling conditions who are still able to stand and walk a few steps. Mobility scooters are usually for those who have minor mobility issues.

A wheelchair usually offers more support and features to help you if you have posture issues. Electric wheelchairs are usually far more costly than mobility scooters but they are also more comfortable.

If you need to transport it, the scooter can be folded up to fit in a trunk or a back seat. Most electric wheelchairs do not fold or are heavy.

An electric scooter is steered with handlebars, whereas electric wheelchairs use a joystick. A wheelchair might be easier to control if you have issues with upper-body mobility.

What’s next?

Many older people find it hard to move around independently. It is essential that seniors get themselves some sort of walking assistance device if they are unstable performing motions like sitting down, getting up or walking.

It is advisable that they talk to their healthcare provider before they decide to make a choice. Make sure to check these tips for improving mobility.

I am sure you use some home modification, like rails, shower chairs, grab handles or stairlift. With these simple devices, you can decrease the chances of falling in your home.

Best Knee Braces for Elderly

When you are 65 or older, you have a growth chance of experiencing knee pain. Many factors can bring about knee pain, including trauma, obesity or a history of playing high-impact sports. One of the leading causes in the elderly is the breakdown of cartilage and osteoarthritis.

There are many different options to help relieve knee pain. For serious cases, surgery is often the best solution. For less acute cases, you may be prescribed pain killers or regular physical therapy.

What other options you have? A knee brace is definitely one of them.

Elderly people who experience knee pain, stiffness, and overall discomfort can benefit from knee braces, and the good thing is that options to buy one are numerous.

What to consider when choosing knee braces for elderly?

When you feel you need a knee brace, the most important thing is to see a medical professional first. This is to rule out bone, muscle, or ligament issues that might get worse without the proper treatment or the correct knee brace.

Yes, that’s right there are many different types of knee brace, each one has its uses and none of them are interchangeable except under medical supervision.

Types of knee braces

Knee sleeves

Your knees need protection when they’re injured, need help preventing injuries, and preventing re-injuries. They are simply a padded sleeve and provide warmth and compression at the knee joint. Compression increases blood flow, while the warming effect increases the rate of change of your blood flow. Both speed up the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area and so increases the rate of healing.

Functional knee braces

This one gives support to an already injured knee or prevents further injury after the knee has had surgery to repair ligaments. It has metal hinges on both sides of the knee joint so allowing the knee to fold back normally, but restricting side to side movement.

Patellofemoral braces

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, sometimes known as ‘runner’s knee’ is a general term describing anterior knee pain caused by a misaligned kneecap in the femoral groove. This misalignment comes from many different situations.

  • Knee joint misalignment.
  • Improper alignment and movement of the feet when walking.
  • Tissue inflammation around the kneecap.
  • Faulty muscles around the kneecap.
  • Cartilage damage behind the kneecap.
  • An unusual shape of the kneecap or femoral groove.

A patellofemoral brace controls the movement of the kneecap while allowing the muscles to realign and heal.

Unloader knee braces

This brace helps when the wearer suffers from osteoarthritis in the knee. However, It won’t cure or reverse the problem. It’s purely to help relieve the pain and overwhelming symptoms.  It’s made from foam, plastic, and steel struts which provides a comfortable way to stabilize the knee joint and transfer body weight from the side of the knee joint with arthritis to the other side. The design limits the side movement in the joint and encourages the leg to bend away from the painful joint area.

What does a knee braces help with?

As knee braces support the joint, and nothing else, they can only help with relieving pain and preventing further damage by limiting the knee’s movement.  They, therefore, only support the joint and restrict movement so that the joint only moves as it’s meant to.

Although some doctors recommend them as a good form of pain relief by supporting the joint and taking the load off the damaged bone, muscles, and ligaments. Others believe it stops the knee muscles from building up and doing the job themselves.

There are arguments for and against both viewpoints, but research hasn’t given evidence one-way or the other. So, speak to your doctor or physical therapist and follow their instructions as to which method will work for you.

Best knee braces for seniors/ Reviews

Below I am going to discuss some of the best knee braces for the elderly you can find.

Knee Brace by Bodyprox

Bodyprox is a well-known brand of injury prevention products created specifically to relieve pain, speed up recovery after the injury, and improve the general wellbeing of users. Their knee brace comes in a universal size for an easy fit on every leg.

The knee brace was designed to provide relief and added comfort while performing their daily activities. In order to make this knee brace comfortable and effective, Bodyprox used the highest grade material that eliminates potential skin rash and allergy.

The breathable fabric is paired with an open patella design to lower pressure on the sore knee area. The patella gel pads in this knee brace allow for an easy movement while flexible stabilizer springs alleviate pressure and stress. Users report knee brace by Bodyprox provides much-needed support and prevents pain from radiating.

Also, the knee doesn’t buckle under, and the brace doesn’t slip. A slight disadvantage is that Velcro may lose its grip after a while.

Hinged Knee Brace by Shock Doctor

You have probably heard of Shock Doctor on multiple occasions by now. Over the years, they have become a leader in this industry, so it comes as no wonder their knee brace is on this list as well. In fact, this is Shock Doctor’s most advanced knee brace due to bilateral support hinges and tempered aluminum for additional knee stability and protection.

Generally speaking, hinged knee brace by Shock Doctor can help prevent and heal medial and lateral instability, injuries, sprains, arthritis, and other problems that affect a person’s movement, flexibility, and quality of life. Made of breathable material with antimicrobial properties, the knee brace is easy to wear and doesn’t induce discomfort. The integrated, flexible stabilizers prevent slipping.

Bearing in mind the knee brace supports joint alignment and soft tissue, and it also provides therapeutic heat to improve blood flow. Users describe the brace gave them more stability and support while relieving pain. But, it can be difficult for some people to choose the right size. Make sure to measure your knee properly.

TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support

TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support is one of the best knee braces for a good reason and mainly because the elderly can use it with ease, without too much hassle. The brace features a slim profile that provides added support to stabilize the knee and hold it firmly. To some people, a slim profile may not seem “strong enough” to get the job done, but the truth is that it allows for the leg flexion and extension.

Above all that, the TechWare Pro knee brace is comfortable and adjustable. It features a bidirectional design to reduce pain in the knee and stabilize the patella or kneecap.

This knee brace surrounds the knee perfectly while enabling a user to achieve full mobility. Knee stability is also ensured via an open patella design that features four flexible spring stabilizers. Four sizes are available (M, L, XL, and XXL), so make sure to measure knee adequately to get the right fit. One of the biggest advantages of this knee brace is the perfect fit, even on people with thick legs. Not only does it fit, but it also provides comfort.

Vive Knee Ice Pack Wrap

One of the easiest and most effective things to do to alleviate joint pain is to apply an ice pack to the painful area. Cold numbs the pain and makes it easier to move. That’s why it comes as no wonder that knee braces in the form of ice pack wraps are available as well, and Vive’s gear is worth taking into consideration.

What makes this brace special? The soft neoprene blend knee wrap features two front pockets as well as one back pocket. Vive’s brace also comes with three removable gel packs for heat or cold therapy. It’s useful to mention that while cold numbs the pain, the heat reduces stiffness, which can be handy in the morning.

All you need to do is to either microwave or freeze gel packs and insert them into specified areas. The adjustable straps provide both flexibility and stability. The great benefit of this wrap is the 60-day money-back guarantee the brand provides.

IPOW 2 Pack Knee Pain Relief

Men and women who are looking for a simple knee strap brace may want to consider IPOW’s gear. This brace is specifically created to absorb shock on the knees and prevent pain. As a result, users notice their range of motion has improved. The gentle yet strong material is easy to wear and doesn’t cause discomfort and itching throughout the day.

Users report that knee brace from IPOW is easy to put on and take off, helps relieve pain, and allows them to move easily. But, the bands tend to lose strength after a while.

Whats next?

The benefits of knee braces for the elderly are numerous. For example, knee braces improve knee stability and decrease the intensity of pain, increase range of motion, and provide more comfort and evidence.

Knee braces provide more balance and support to make movements easier, but also to lower the incidence of falls. Knee braces help elderly men and women reduce knee pain and improve range of motion.

They come at different prices that allow people to choose the ideal brace for their budget. Knee braces are easy to use but to get the best results to make sure to measure your knee properly so that you can purchase the right size.

Best walking Sticks for Seniors / Nordic walking Sticks for Seniors

Whether you’re a senior who prefers relaxed strolls or heart-pumping hikes, sometimes a little support is required. Hiking poles are a great solution for reducing the impact on knee joints and leg muscles. When you are choosing walking sticks check the grip and decide if you need adjustable or one-piece. Some of the best walking sticks are TheFitLife or Montem, check for more.

While many stereotypes abound that seniors are not avid hikers, hiking is very much an accessible activity for those reaching an older age. Good training, pacing and gentle walking are key elements.

How to choose the best walking sticks for seniors?

What should you look for in a good set of walking poles? Hiking poles should be:

The Grip

A good grip should relieve stress and overuse of the wrist joint. Grip designs differ for fitness walking and for trekking, make your choice.

Adjustable or One-piece

One-piece poles will be the best for nordic walking because are lighter, quieter. But trekkers, travelers, and hikers will appreciate poles that compact to store or carry in your luggage

Shock absorbing

Shock absorption is a nice feature particularly for seniors who have unstable hips, ankles or knees or have had any earlier injuries.

Weight

Ultralight poles shaft’s material is key to the pole’s overall weight. Ultralight sticks offer the benefit of less swing weight, which makes it easier to move. Usually, these poles weigh less than 1 pound per pair.

Best Nordic walking Sticks for Seniors / Reviews

TheFitLife Nordic Walking Trekking Poles 

Overall, these are great poles for light walks and hikes. These poles utilize High Quality 7 Series Aviation Aluminium material and are expandable, shock absorbing, and a moisture absorbing. Each pole weighs just 0.6lbs, however, they can support 440lbs. This provides very strong support, while only weighing you down a little.

They feature a quick lock system, with a measuring scale clearly demarcated in centimeters. This has been reported to work extremely well and easily – great for seniors! A strong benefit here is that TheFitLife poles come with 4 free extra rubber tips, so they really are a long-lasting product.

Once the tips are worn down from all your hiking adventures, you can simply replace them and get walking again! Stability and sturdiness are key, and these poles definitely achieve that.

One thing to note, however, is that these are for lighter walking and hiking, and not steep or difficult terrain. For example, if you’re walking in grassy or dirt paths these are perfect, but perhaps not ideal for rocky slopes.

This is because as with many rubber caps, the caps on them can wear down quite quickly if you’re using them on rough terrain. In addition, they have been reported to collapse during very difficult climbs in the mountains.

SWIX Nordic Walking Poles of Norway

Swix poles come in 32 sizes and have a one-piece construction with no locking or adjusting. This could be great for seniors with arthritis in their hands, as they don’t have to fiddle with any mechanisms.

This is a top pick if you want to order a pole specifically for you and your height. The seller is open to emails and will recommend the correct pole for you. Perfect for bespoke customer experience!

They are secure and stable, with a great reputation. They are recommended by doctors and physical therapists too, which is great! Durable carbide metal tips will ensure no wearing or breakage on the trail.

It is important to note, however, that these don’t come with specific instructions on how to get the best Nordic walking technique. So these are great if you’re already an experienced Nordic walker.

The gloves that arrive with the sticks have also been said to be uncomfortable, which is something to note if you have delicate skin or hands.

Overall, Swix poles are best for experienced walkers, who want a perfect solution for any terrain – even the toughest ones!

York Nordic Ultralight Foldable Walking Poles 

The York Nordic Ultralight Poles are 100% carbon fibre and adjustable. These are a great pick for seniors looking for convenience. They’re easily folded and packed away, with a folded length of 14 inches.

They have a reputation for being durable and dependable. They don’t come with instructions so they are best for walkers who have some experience with sticks in the past.

Overall, these are a strong contender as they’ve been reported to work over long distances and different terrains. However, they may send slightly uncomfortable vibrations through your arm due to the stretch cords inside the pole itself vibrating when placed on the ground with force.

TrailBuddy Hiking Poles

Going for tough aluminium instead of carbon fibre, TrailBuddy poles are strong and sturdy. They are adjustable and come in many different colour options. They feature lever locks which can be good for seniors who don’t want to struggle with clip grips.

Ensure that your mud cup is properly attached, as there have been reports of it falling off if not correctly assembled.

Other than that, these are an easy first-time-hikers pole – great for seniors everywhere!

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking

Featuring a free lifetime replacement promise, and a new and improved model, these could be the perfect choice for a first-time buyer. These are compact and made of aluminium.

Lightweight and well-loved, this may be the perfect choice for seniors! They have also been used as mobility aids with success, with users reporting that they are better than crutches or canes. Perhaps the best option for relaxed senior walking.

What are the benefits of walking for seniors

Who doesn’t love a stroll in the fresh air, listening to the sounds of nature and taking in the views? This activity can be particularly beneficial for seniors, as it’s a low impact way of making sure you stay fit and healthy with very few associated risks.

RELATED: How to improve walking?

People who are more active tend to have better mental health, better overall fitness, and they make better food choices, too! It’s no secret that walking has a plethora of associated benefits. Walking is even a great way to get your creativity going.

Here’s also a social element. A walk with friends and family can be great for a senior! Rehabilitative walking is also good, for example, after a hip surgery, which is very common amongst seniors.

What’s next?

One potential drawback of these poles to note, however, is that they can increase overall energy exertion as your arms will be picking up the extra weight that is being saved from your knees. They also keep your arms moving for longer periods of time, which ensures good circulation. Overall, however, it’s a great solution. 

Not only walking, if you can try running, you should also swim or do some water exercises, it doesn’t matter, just stay active. If you have a bicycle, use it.