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What are mobility aids?

What are mobility aids?

Mobility aids are equipment and tools that make it easier for you or a loved one to get around from one place to another. They are there to offer support to help with walking or to help you get around when walking any kind of distance isn't an option.

There are a variety of different types of mobility aids available and, as no one person is the same, it make take a little research and investigation to find which one is most suited to your unique needs and requirements.

Who might use a mobility aid?

The short answer is anyone who needs one. If you or a loved one are finding that walking any kind of distance is becoming a struggle, then a mobility aid may be able to help support you. Whether that's a walking stick or crutch to help with stability or a wheelchair to get you from A to B, anyone in need of support to keep themselves mobile should consider a mobility aid.

There is no age restriction around who can use a mobility aid, only a consideration of what size and style of mobility aid you may need. 

There is no shame in needing extra help to get around.

Who might use a mobility aid?
What are the different types of mobility aid?

What are the different types of mobility aid?

There are a variety of mobility aids and equipment available, including:

  • Walking sticks
  • Crutches
  • Walking frames
  • Rollators
  • Wheelchairs
  • Mobility scooters

Each of these mobility aids come a wide variety of different styles and designs, with an array of features available depending on what type you get. It can be more than a little overwhelming, which is why we've put together guides to help you narrow down your options.

Walking sticks
What are they?

Walking sticks are probably one of the more well-known types of mobility aid that people use to help make it a little easier to get around. You may already be familiar with the classic "shepherd's crook" style of walking stick but there are a wide variety of other types and styles available to choose from, including those with different grip styles and even ones that include seats.

What are they?
Who can use one?

A walking stick can help to offer you greater stability while you're out and about, useful if you have an injury or condition that makes balancing difficult. 

People tend to only use one walking stick at a time (there are exceptions to this) and if you find that you may need to use one for each hand, you may wish to consider using a rollator or walking frame instead for extra stability.

Who can use one?
The essential guide

Curious about the different types of walking stick available or looking to find out how to successfully measure yourself for a walking stick? Read our essential guide below to get the complete lowdown on this useful mobility aid and how it could help you.

The essential guide
Crutches
What are they?

Crutches are a useful mobility aid that are typically used by those who don't have full strength in one or both of their legs, whether through illness or injury. Some types of crutches are very similar in look to a walking stick, like elbow crutches, although that type of crutch also usually features a cuff at the top that you put your arm through for added security when using it.

Other types of crutches include the underarm crutch, which hooks underneath your arms to support you as you walk, and forearm support crutches, where your weight is taken mostly by the forearm pad instead of your hands and wrists.

What are they?
Who can use one?

Anyone who has an illness, disability or injury to their legs may find crutches useful. Crutches are fully weight-bearing and can be used to help you walk by helping to keep the weight off your bad leg or to compensate for a missing leg.

If you need help getting around and you have the necessary upper body strength to support yourself, you may find crutches a useful mobility aid to consider.

Who can use one?
Family guide to crutches

Do you have a friend or loved one who may find crutches helpful? If you want to help them out but aren't sure where to start, read our guide to learn more about crutches, including how to use crutches, the different types of crutches, and how to get the right size for your loved one.

Family guide to crutches
Walking frames
What are they?

A walking frame (also sometimes known as a "zimmer frame") is a metal-framed mobility aid designed to offer sturdy support to help people get from place to place. Walking frames usually have four legs with rubber ferrules on the end, although there are also models available that have wheels on the front two legs instead of ferrules.

What are they?
Who can use one?

If you need help and support in standing upright and walking, then you may find a walking frame useful as they can help you keep your balance when walking. The majority of walking frames are suitable for indoor use and there are narrower frames available if you have tight spaces to manoeuvre round at home. If you're planning on using it outdoors as well be sure to check the product description as not all of them may be designed for use outside. 

Who can use one?
Guide to walking frames

Read our guide to walking frames to learn how to use a walking frame, the safety considerations you need to keep in mind, how to choose the right walking frame to meet your needs and more. This comprehensive guide is on hand to help you decide if a walking frame is right for you and what some of your options are when it comes to choosing the right one.

Guide to walking frames
Rollators
What are they?

Rollators are a type of wheeled walking aid that help make it a little easier to get around. Most rollators are designed for use outside, though there are some available that have been specifically made for indoor use. They come in a huge variety of styles and designs, with an array of different features and accessories, so you can find one that meets your unique needs.

What are they?
Who can use one?

Anyone who doesn't have severe balance issues but needs support while walking could find a rollator useful. They're also a handy mobility aid to try if you find that lifting a walking frame is too difficult as rollators are wheeled, so you can push them around. Not only this but many rollators come with seats, which means you can take breaks when you need to if you find it tricky to walk without pausing to rest every so often.

Who can use one?
Rollator buying guide

There's a huge variety in design and style of rollator and it's easy to get overwhelmed by choice. Read our buying guide to learn about some of the major differences between rollators, how to measure yourself for one correctly, and what things you should consider and take into account before choosing one.

Rollator buying guide
Family guide to rollators

Considering buying a rollator for a loved one but aren't sure where to start? Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about rollators, including a deeper look at some of the different accessories and features that are available with certain types of rollator. 

Family guide to rollators
Wheelchairs
What are they?

Wheelchairs are one of the most recognisable type of mobility aid, designed to help people get from one place to another, whether that's self-propelled or attendant-propelled. There is a huge range of wheelchairs available to accommodate a wide range of needs, from more classic attendant-propelled manual chairs all the way through to high-tech specialist wheelchairs.

What are they?
Who can use one?

Anyone can use a wheelchair, but the type of wheelchair you may need will depend on a variety of factors, including whether your time in a wheelchair will be temporary or long term, if you want to be able to self-propel or if you'll need a wheelchair to be attendant-propelled (pushed by someone else), and ultimately what the wheelchair will be used for. It's important to think carefully about what you want from a wheelchair before purchasing one, to make sure you get the right one for your needs.

Who can use one?
Specialist wheelchairs

Specialist wheelchairs could be manual or powered wheelchairs that can usually be customised to suit the person using it. This type of wheelchair tends to have a variety of features aimed at those who will be permanently in need of a wheelchair but can range from power chairs for everyday use through to active wheelchairs designed for people wanting to keep up with a sportier lifestyle.

This type of wheelchair requires a home assessment. You can find out more about our free home assessments and book yours by clicking on the link below.

Specialist wheelchairs
Powered wheelchair add-ons

If you already own a manual wheelchair but would like the option of powered one, then a powered wheelchair add-on may be what you're looking for. These add-ons are designed to fix to your existing chair - especially useful if you have an existing custom chair you're not interested in giving up yet. Read our article to learn more about our top 5 must-have power add-ons.

Powered wheelchair add-ons
Battery maintenance

If you choose a powered wheelchair, you'll need to learn how to take care of the battery so that it doesn't let you down at a crucial moment. We've put together a series of tips and recommendations to help you keep your battery in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

Battery maintenance
Mobility scooters
What are they?

Mobility scooters are motorised mobility aids designed to help you get from A to B. There's a variety of different types of mobility scooter available and one of the biggest divisions between them is whether or not they can be used on the road. Class 2 mobility scooters can only be used on pavements, while Class 3 mobility scooters are allowed on the road.

What are they?
Who can use one?

Ideally, to use a mobility scooter you need to be able to transfer on and off it on your own. Government guidance also advises that you can only use a mobility scooter if you find it difficult to walk due to injury, disability or medical condition.

The good news is that even for Class 3 mobility scooters that can go on the road, you don't need a drivers licence to operate one. 

Who can use one?
Family guide to mobility scooters

If someone you care for is living with mobility issues and you think of mobility scooter could help, this guide is on hand to answer all your questions about them. From the different types of mobility scooter available to the batteries and accessories on offer, this guide will help you decide if a mobility scooter might be suitable for your loved one.

Family guide to mobility scooters

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