It is no secret that our bodies and their natural functions tend to decline bit by bit as we age. In fact, one of the aspects that are often associated with old age is reduced mobility. After all, it is a fact of life that the human body's skeletal muscle mass will naturally deteriorate over time. In addition, the lubricating fluid in our joints will inevitably decrease, and the cartilage in our muscles also become thinner over time.
These natural factors combined ultimately result in restricted movements for the elderly and senior loved ones in our families. But having reduced freedom of movement does not mean your loved ones can't continue to enjoy life. With the help of personal mobility aids (PMAs), they can maintain their normal lifestyle with some minor adjustments.
However, given the variety of PMAs available on the market, it can be challenging for you to decide on the most suitable option for your ageing loved ones. If you have similar concerns when browsing through the various products online, let us help by providing an in-depth look at the available mobility aids on the market so you can make a more informed decision.
When do people need PMAs?
While reduced mobility is often the key factor in someone's decision to purchase a PMA device, there may also be other health factors that play a pivotal role in their choice. For example, if your loved ones have experienced or are currently experiencing the following issues, it may be time to considering getting a mobility aid for them:
- Injuries or illnesses that causes stiff joints
- Weakened lower body strength
- Experiencing pain from low-intensity activities, like walking or standing
- Quicker onset of fatigue during outings
- Falls or near-falls when standing or walking
Types of PMAs available on the market
1) Walking aids
There are five main types of walking aids: canes, quad canes, walkers, walkers with wheels, and rollators. These mobility aids are rudimentary tools that offer basic support for seniors who can still walk and require minimal assistance.
So if your loved ones are still able to move about on their own, but you noticed they frequently need support to prevent themselves from falling, then you can consider getting them walking aids since they are the more affordable options on the market.
2) Regular and motorised wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are typically the first equipment that comes to mind when talking about mobility aids. They are a tried and true solution to reduced movement, with many seniors in Singapore adopting them as their go-to mobility aids. There are typically two options available for the public – regular and electric wheelchairs.
Regular wheelchairs are more affordable, so those working with a tight budget may prefer this option. However, users will require some upper body strength to manoeuvre them effectively, making them less ideal for seniors who are no longer as strong as they used to be. As such, your ageing loved ones may require the aid of a caregiver to operate the wheelchair. Conversely, motorised wheelchairs offer greater freedom as they can be operated by their users independently.
However, regardless of your decision, both options are relatively compact, making them ideal for indoor and outdoor uses. Moreover, there are foldable options available for both models – regular and electric – making it easier for you to transport these devices on public transportation when you are taking your loved ones outdoors.
3) Mobility scooter
Mobility scooters have become more prevalent in recent years amongst seniors having difficulty moving around independently. These scooters typically run on batteries and can tread through a greater range of terrain than a wheelchair, making them ideal for active seniors who prefer the outdoors.
However, due to their larger frame and wider turning radius, these devices are more challenging to manoeuvre in tight spaces. As such, your loved ones may find it difficult to operate these mobility aids in a home environment.
Even though all mobility aids achieve the same goal – helping those in need regain some of their independence – this does not mean every device is suitable for your ageing loved ones. Moreover, everyone has their preferences. Therefore, it is essential for you to carefully consider your loved ones' needs and research which device best suits these needs before making your purchase.