Guide to Mobility Aids: What You Need to Know
Around half of Australians living with disabilities and 93% of aged care residents use mobility aids, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data. Mobility aids help people with restricted mobility to gain more independence and freedom in their lives.
If you're interested in mobility equipment for yourself or a loved one, read this overview for an idea of what your options are and contact our friendly and knowledgeable team in Perth, Osborne Park& Mandurah (Perth’s south west) for advice and the best prices.
What are mobility aids?
Mobility aids are any powered or unpowered equipment that help people with disabilities or other limited mobility to move independently. Depending on your needs, they can support:
- Going to work, school or college
- Taking care of shopping and other tasks
- Getting exercise and fresh air
- Maintaining an active social life
- Participating in your community
- General living and care
Benefits often associated with mobility aids include:
- Improved confidence and quality of life
- Reduced pain and fatigue
- Lower risk of falls and hospitalisation
Who can benefit from mobility aids?
Mobility aids are normally recommended by doctors, physiotherapists or other care professionals based on individual needs. They can be helpful for people whose mobility is impaired as a result of an injury, medical or genetic condition or other causes.
Mobility equipment may be recommended if you need help:
- Getting around independently
- Getting more exercise
- Improving your balance or posture
- Taking weight off your lower limbs
- Indicating to others that you require special consideration
What mobility aids do I need?
You may already have an idea of what assistive tools you could benefit from, but these will normally require a prescription from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or similar professional. They will assess your suitability for different types of mobility aids, which may be required for the short term or long term.
Motobility provides a complete range of mobility solutions from trusted manufacturers and our experienced team can help you to find the best equipment for your needs. Mobility aids may be categorised as:
- Rollators and walking aids
- Electric mobility scooters
Learn more about these options and the pros and cons of different mobility aids below.
Rollators and walking aids
These non-motorised mobility aidsmay be simple in design, but can be indispensable when it comes to helping you get back on your feet or easing the strain.
Crutches help to offload weight from weak or injured legs, widen your base of support and reduce the risk of falls. Using crutches requires a degree of upper body strength, particularly in the shoulders, arms and hands.
Underarm crutches are generally a short-term measure to take the weight off a healing leg, while forearm or elbow crutches may be a longer-term solution to help ease the strain on both legs.
Walking sticks or canes are versatile aids to mobility, balance and support. Like underarm crutches, they can relieve weight from one leg, but in the case of single-point walking sticks they are less stable and can involve a higher risk of falls.
Three-point sticks (or tripods) and four-point (quad) sticks offer a wider base of support. Modern walking sticks are designed to be lightweight and portable, with a range of handle designs and materials to choose from.
Walking frames provide variable support for standing and walking. They include static walking frames that must be manually lifted and wheeled walking frames (or rollators) that can be pushed along, though still require some strength and ability in the arms.
Two-wheeled rollators are suitable for indoor use or short trips outside. For longer distances or heavy use, a three-wheeled or four-wheeled frame is recommended.
Wheelchairs and powerchairs are mainly used indoors, for getting around at home, at work and in other accessible locations, such as shopping malls. They may be manually or electronically operated.
Manual wheelchairs are generally cheaper and lighter than their electric counterparts, but they require upper body strength and may be tiring to use for extended periods. Most wheelchairs are designed for ease of transport in cars and other vehicles.
Compared to mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs (or powerchairs) are more manoeuvrable with a tighter turning circle, can be more comfortable, and are easier to use indoors. On the downside, they are not well suited to uneven terrain or long-distance use.
Electric mobility scooters
Motorised scooters (or gophers) can be an alternative to a power wheelchair for indoor/outdoor use, while larger models serve as a car replacement. To be able to use a mobility scooter, you must be able to get in and out of the seat unsupported and not have impairments that could affect your safety while driving.
We have one of the most extensive ranges of mobility scooters in Perth, dealing direct with leading manufacturers to get you the best prices on dependable equipment.
Compact and lightweight, portable scooters have small turning circles that can be ideal for use in the home, office or busy shopping centres. Most are designed for ease of transport and may pull apart or fold away neatly. Specialised travel scooters have airline-approved lithium-ion batteries.
More resilient than portable scooters, medium scooters are still manoeuvrable, but are generally capable of travelling longer distances (up to 40km) and over more difficult terrain. These scooters also come with more features and are suitable for use on wheelchair-accessible public transport.
Heavy-duty or large scooters are car replacements that can have many of the features of those vehicles, depending on the model. Pneumatic tyres, comfortable seats and suspension give a more comfortable ride over rough or uneven terrain, while large baskets are ideal for shopping and general storage.
Mobility aids in Perth
Motobility is your one-stop shop for quality mobility equipment catering to all needs and budgets. We offer free in-home test drives for wheelchairs and mobility scooters so you can be sure you're making the right choice.
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Get in touch
For any online enquiries please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the web form below, or email us directly. For any urgent matters, please contact us directly on 08 9242 7333