Best Review - Top 4 Mobility aids to consider for your elderly relative


s we age we tend to slow down and get less mobile. Usually it happens slowly, but for some unlucky people they find themselves suddenly robbed of their mobility by a fall or a stroke.

Remaining mobile is of paramount importance in old age. Although a degree of slowing down is normal maintaining mobility can help improve the prognosis for a whole raft of conditions from diabetes to depression. Mobility aids help maintain what mobility a person has, which in turn improves their ability to live independently.

A study by the Live-in Care Hub found many examples where supporting a person’s mobility had improved their quality of life, including a 108 year old who still tended his garden and a stroke victim who had been persuaded to take up painting with their left hand.

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Walking Stick

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The simplest mobility aid is a walking stick which can be used to take the strain off painful joints or to improve balance. They need to be the correct height, but modern variants are adjustable and some even fold up for storage. A strap is useful to avoid the stick falling to the floor, and if there are balance problems a self-supporting stick may be useful.

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Walking Frames

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Commonly known as Zimmer frames they are available in a number of different styles to suit different levels of mobility. Wheels make placing the frame easier if strength is an issue, but can be a nuisance indoors. A different frame may be required for outdoors with larger wheels, or incorporating a seat. If you or a live in carer need to take your relative to appointments you should consider whether or not you need a folding walking frame to fit in the car.

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A wheelchair may be a necessity, for example if a stroke has paralysed your relative in which case you will be referred to your local NHS wheelchair service for fitting. Using a wheelchair when out and about may significantly improve the quality of the experience for your elderly relative.

If you are able to push it a manual wheelchair may be lighter and cheaper than an electric one, however an electric wheelchair can provide greater independence for your relative. If being able to walk long distances is the main reason for needing a wheelchair a mobility scooter may be a better option and can often be borrowed from shopping centres.

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Household adaptations

Ensuring that it is easy to move around the house can be key in keeping your relative mobile. Remove rugs which can be a trip hazard and fit grab rails where necessary, such as in the bathroom and toilet, to assist with balance.

A raised toilet seat can make using the toilet easier if getting up from sitting is becoming difficult. Providing a shower seat or bath hoist can make keeping up with personal hygiene easier and safer as well. Make sure surfaces are non-slip by fitting rubber suction mats or rubber pads.

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