Get the mobility aids you need

It’s a fact of life that most of us may need mobility aid at some point in our lives, whether it’s for a disability, rehabilitation for an injury, a short-term illness or just simply ageing. Mobility aids come with the benefit that your life doesn’t stop despite it – you absolutely don’t have to give up your independence or lifestyle. If faced with hindrance, the right aid can give you a new lease of life and burst of energy. 

There are plenty of options out there, from basic designs to the more technically advanced. But before looking into a mobility aid, it’s a good idea to think about what sort would benefit you and your situation. Consider which type of equipment would most benefit you. Are you entitled to help or assistance before purchasing equipment? Or is there any financial support available to help with costs? 

If you’re unsure of what is a priority for your mobility needs and what help you have, occupational therapy can help and assess what solutions are needed for your everyday life. Occupational therapists are available to help all, young or old, with practical tasks if you’re disabled and advice on disability products. If you’re recovering from illness or injury, they can advise on what aids or physiotherapy are needed, plus they can help those with learning or mental health issues or those who are getting older too.

Types of mobility equipment

Although those who suffer with mobility issues has declined by 2% from 2014/15, the statistics don’t matter to those who live with it every day. But it doesn’t have to interfere with your independence in the slightest, especially with the right mobility aid.

From the most standard and basic equipment to more advanced and expensive, here’s a rundown of the types of mobility equipment available:

●    Crutches: the NHS provide elbow crutches if you break your leg etc. But, if you’re looking for more long-term solutions, there are hands-free crutches that connect to the leg with fancy mechanisms and soft paddings too.

●    Walking sticks: from the most basic ones to more advanced including those with tripod or tetrapod bottoms to help with balance. Whether wooden, metal, folding or with a seat, the options are endless.

●    Wheeled walkers or rollators: these can be wheeled to support you as you walk. There are many types available from basic walking frames to rollators with a seat and storage space.

●    Wheelchairs: normally unpowered and manual but come in different designs with multiple accessories like umbrellas, armrests, covers etc.

●    Mobility scooters: powered and quicker than a wheelchair, these can come in different classes of speed and functions. See the basic buying guide below.

●    Ramps: whether it’s a large permanent ramp for the home leading to your front door or portable, lightweight ramps for a few steps or the car, these come in many different shapes and sizes.

●    Stairlifts: these can come in straight or curved designs depending on the shape of your staircase.

●    Wheelchair lifts:  very expensive but often seen in two storey retail outlets, aiding those with a wheelchair to get from one floor to another.

Mobility scooter buying guide

A mobility scooter can grant you the freedom and independence that perhaps you lacked from life before. It’s considered one of the greatest developments in mobility equipment in recent years and has revolutionised life for those suffering from mobility issues. There are many factors and things to know before acquiring one, so we’ve compiled a mini buying guide to help you out:

●    Driving: believe it or not, you don’t actually need a driving license to drive one nor do you have to pass any medical examinations to use a mobility scooter either.

●    Class one: a class one chair or scooter are manual non-electric wheelchairs.

●    Class two: a class two is a powered mobility chair or scooter and can be used on pavements, zebra crossings and used on the road if there isn’t a pavement. These have a maximum speed of 4mph.

●    Class three: complete with headlights and indicators, mirrors, a horn and an emergency brake, class three scooters can be used on roads (except motorways, cycle lanes and bus lanes). Luckily, they’re not required to be road taxed nor required to have an MOT. They have a maximum speed of 8 mph but can be switched down to 4 mph for when travelling on the pavement.

●    Portability: scooters are heavy mobility equipment, but some are available as portable options – they are more lightweight and able to be dismantled. As they come in a fixed design, it’s not really possible to alter seats or ride heights either, therefore they struggle navigating kerbs and rougher terrain.

●    Extras: consider extras and accessories available like storage covers, canopies, shopping baskets and storage, walking stick holders and much more. 

If buying from a specific company, check when purchasing your chair or scooter that they offer a warranty time and also whether they offer services in checking and repairing your scooter in the future. Making sure they do this will ascertain whether they are a reputable company or not.

Mobility scooters for sale vs for hire

Obtaining a mobility scooter for the first time has to be right for you and your needs, and it may mean not scrimping on it too. Before buying, consider whether you are eligible for any financial aid and how much assistance or care you may already get, as this will factor into whether you need a brand new scooter or just one to hire. Here are some things you’ll need to know and consider before opting for either:

For sale scooter:

–      Long-term solution

–      Comes with a warranty

–      Brand new with no manufacturing or safety issues

–      No damage, faults or repairs will be needed, saving you money straight away

–      Can opt for any alterations or personalisation early on

–      The downside is that it may be attractive to thieves and a large sum investment

For hire scooter:

–      Short-term solution

–      Available at the same speed, class and terrain options as brand new scooters

–      Cheaper and can be hired in different plans e.g. weekly or even monthly

–      Some rental companies will want a minimum rental period of a year

–      Be sure it’s not damaged nor dangerous to operate before using

Disability equipment for the home

It’s important to make your home as comfortable and accessible as possible and there is equipment you can put in place to help maintain your independence and not obstruct your day to day life.

Stairlifts

Most stairlifts are available in all different styles depending on budget, needs and personal preference. Fitting to the stairs and not the wall, they can come as straight or curved, ready to mirror the shape of your staircase.

The upside of a stairlift is that you don’t have to deal with the hassle or expense of moving into a bungalow, especially if you’re happy when you are. Safe, smooth and easy to use, they can be customised to fit your needs too. For example, they can fold away, be battery powered, and have seat belts and swivel seats. Most companies offer repair and maintenance services as well as safety tests and a warranty.

Bathrooms

For those with reduced mobility who perhaps struggle when washing or bathing, a mobility bathroom may be right for you. With the creation of a wet room, walk-in shower or bath, this can help your mobility but also be a unique design addition for your home also. A wet room can be more expensive due to fully tiling the room, but could be good if you were looking to revamp the bathroom anyway, whereas a walk-in shower or bath can mean quicker installation and smaller investment. 

As well as these elements, non-slip trays, grab rails, handles, shower seats and toilet rails can help avoid strenuous activity and risks to your health. With the development of modern technology filtering down to mobility aids, consider a smart shower or temperature controlled taps and settings also.

Rhondda Mobility Services – installation and repair services

Possessing 20 years of experience, we at Rhondda Mobility Services understand how difficult it is when being faced with poor mobility and how infuriating it can be. However, all is not lost as there are so many options for mobility aid and equipment, plus access to care and financial help to enable you to carry on with life and maintain your independence. It’s crucial that when choosing a mobility aid, that ability and comfort is paramount in your decision. Rhondda Mobility Services put that at the forefront of our professional mobility aid installation services when operating across South Wales. As well as installation we offer repair services and free lifetime servicing contracts, plus we are renowned for our aftercare and 24/7 call out services. For more information on our services, visit our website and contact us today.