Navigating the maze
Navigating the maze | Modern mobility aids
There are few things more frustrating and depressing than when you realise that your mobility has become reduced due to the impact of health conditions, injury, and so on. Decreasing mobility can make you feel like you are losing your independence. If you or someone you care for are having more difficulty in getting around the home easily and want to try to improve things, then we recommend talking with your doctor or allied health professional about how mobility aids can help you, and which type you would currently benefit from.
The types and range of mobility aids and the number of suppliers form a bit of a maze, so in this post we will simply outline the concept of “mobility aids” and some of the main items which fall under the banner of mobility aids - and you can talk to your health or support agency about what you need.
What are mobility aids?
Mobility aids are devices designed to help people who have problems moving around, to enjoy greater freedom and independence. Typically, people who choose to use mobility aids. are those who have disabilities or injuries, or older adults who are at increased risk of falling. Mobility aids can be as simple and traditional as walking sticks and the old conventional under-arm crutches, to more innovative solutions such as modern design crutches, light foldable wheelchairs, in-home bath lifts, and even stair lifts. For some people, specific dogs are considered a mobility aid (see below!).
Mobility devices provide several benefits to users, including more independence, reduced pain, and increased confidence and self-esteem.
It’s a bit of a maze
As well as the many categories of mobility devices and aids, there are also many types of professional service providers in the health, rehabilitation, aged care and disability areas, who can assess you and recommend mobility aids. And then there are many suppliers, including on-line suppliers in Australia and overseas. There are also some potential funding sources, such as the NDIS, My Aged Care, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and so on.
As we said above, the best place to start navigating the maze is with the doctor or care provider that you’re already linked in with.
A quick summary
Walking sticks (sometimes called canes)
Walking sticks support the body's weight to some extent, and help transmit the load from the legs to the upper body. However, they also place greater pressure on the hands and wrists. They are particularly useful for people who have problems balancing and who are at risk of falling. It is very important to choose the: right type of walking stick; the handle type; the length; the weight limit.
A white cane has a specific meaning, it is an important tool for independence and mobility among people who are blind or have low vision. It has become an internationally recognised symbol of blindness and low vision.
A white support cane is like a normal walking stick - used to aid balance and as a means of physical support, and in addition assists with identifying that a person has low vision. A white long cane is a mobility cane which enables a person who is blind or has low vision to use the cane to detect all obstacles and hazards within their path of travel by sweeping the cane in front of them. it is not used for physical support in the same way as a walking stick.
Crutches help to transfer weight from the legs to the upper body. They can be used singly or in pairs. Crutches help keep a person upright and may be used by those with short-term injuries or permanent disabilities. There are many different types of crutches, including underarm crutches, forearm crutches and platform crutches.
A modern alternative to crutches is the Knee Scooter used by some (usually younger people) to avoid putting weight on a lower limb following injury or surgery.
Walkers and wheely-walkers
Walkers, also known as Zimmer frames, are made up of a metal framework with four legs that provide stability and support to the user, who must lift the frame and place it further in front of them, then step forward to meet it, before repeating the process.
Some walkers have wheels on the base of the legs, and are known as wheely-walkers or rollators. The user can slide or roll the walker in front of them, rather than lift it. This is especially helpful for people with limited arm strength. They may also have features such as brakes, a seat or a tray table.
Wheelchairs are used by people who should not put weight on their lower limbs or who are unable to walk. They can be more suitable than walkers for people with severe disabilities or when travel over greater distances is required. Wheelchairs can be manually propelled by the user, pushed by someone else, or electrically powered. There are a great many types of wheelchairs specialized for the individual and for specific needs and purposes.
Battery-operated mobility scooters are beneficial for people without the upper body strength or flexibility to use a manual wheelchair, those who are unable to walk long distances, and those needing greater access to their local community.
Blind or vision-impaired people may use a specially trained dog to guide them. Guide dogs are highly trained service animals used to escort people who are blind or visually impaired by helping the owner navigate obstacles and walk safely to their destination.
Digital mobility aids
An increasingly large range of digital devices and apps for phones are modern mobility aids designed to assist people who are blind or have low vision, to navigate their way around the community, through audio/sound guidance.
Gong Life Care Solutions – Who are We?
Gong Life Care Solutions (GLCS) is a mobility aid supplier based in Wollongong, on the South Coast of NSW, and we sell a range of mobility aids - although not dogs!
Our mobility equipment is designed in Europe and every product is of exceptional design, innovation and quality. Two of our products have won important international quality and design awards (our Aquabuddy-Home shower in bed system and our Strongback24 posture support wheelchair). See them on our website: https://gonglcs.com.au/collections/all
GLCS is a passionate, responsible local business delivering to the whole of Australia. We support charities and social initiatives and activities to improve the quality of life of our local community, and beyond. The expression of this “interdependence” is an important part of our passion.
Locally we support SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance For Refugee Families), a not-for-profit organisation which provides practical support for people from refugee backgrounds. SCARF works with the community to build a sense of belonging and to navigate the practical and personal challenges of starting a new life in Australia. https://www.scarfsupport.org.au
GLCS also supports World Vision, a large charity which works with children, families and communities, wherever the need is greatest. World Vision has programs in Australia and around the world, and works in a sustainable way to tackle poverty and injustice. https://www.worldvision.com.au
Therefore, when customers purchase our products, they are also partnering with us in having a positive impact on the world we live in. We’re proud of that!
KMINA Indoor Rollator
In this week’s post we want to highlight our KMINA Indoor Rollator, a very light-weight but strong, folding rollator walker, which is a mobility aid which is especially designed for indoor use, and contributes to a user’s sense of independence and safety walking around at home. People with conventional outdoor rollators often abandon their use of the rollator indoors, as they can be heavy and wide and difficult to manoeuver in the home. However, our KMINA rollator, at just 54cm in width, is narrow enough to easily get through doorways and around furniture. It has a single handlebar, which is easy to manage and really assists stability, balance and manoeuvrability. There are 5 click-in height adjustment settings, which are easily managed.
Users love this rollator because it weighs only 5.5kgs and it folds and unfolds easily for putting into the boot of the car, or storing in the house when not in use. It has a cable braking system and the brakes can be applied by either hand, or both hands. Another feature that users find really convenient is the flat stable tray top which comes in very handy when preparing food or a drink, and taking it to another room. And of course, the basket helps the user to carry items around the home.
Our quality walker is certified by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and European Conformity (CE). It is designed for people who have moderate to low dependence, who are able to walk with some assistance, but desire more independence around the home. The KMINA rollator will improve a user’s confidence in moving around safely in the home and promote their independence and sense of well-being.
Please check the Gong Life Care Solutions website, https://gonglcs.com.au/products/kmina-rollator or call us if you would like to enquire about the KMINA Indoor Rollator.
We have a range of amazing mobility aids, including the Relaxa Bath Lift and the award-winning posture support Strongback Wheelchair, and the innovative KMINA pain-free crutches. Our friendly staff are happy to talk with you about any of our products.
Contact us on 1300 907 280, Tues to Fri, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm AEDT
We deliver free anywhere in Australia.
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