Over 60

Disability Aids

There are lots available now.

Getting to understand the disability aids in the UK

Disability equipment and aids can help you to stay safe and independent, both at home and within your community. It’s no doubt that , for instance, a riser recliner chair, stairlift and mobility scooter can help the elderly with mobility to enable them to move and accomplish different chores at home. However, it’s important that you conduct your research and try out each of theaids to determine what’s best for you.
Small aids for daily living
Small aids are beneficial in handling small tasks that might seem difficult such as turning, lifting or gripping items. For instance; adapter cutlery should enable you to handle knives, forks and spoons if you have limited hand movement or a weaker grip. There are also kettle trippers to enable you to pour from, or fill kettls,e and turners to help you undo jars or turn keys. There are even electric shoe lacers to enable you conveniently lace up shoes; really helpful for the elderly or infirm who find it difficult to tie their own.
Assistance to get around
If you are faced with long-term mobility issues, then there are different options to enable you to get around on your own. Depending on your needs, walking aids, wheelchairs and mobility scooters could be the right choice for you. There is a wide range of equipment available, and it’s important to carefully evaluate the different option available. Here is an outline on a few of such items.

Mobility Scooters

These can be a real boon since they can enable independent travel for those with mobility problems. They are battery powered and come in different sizes and models. Mobility scooters are effective since they enable you to travel independently for those with mobility problems. They are battery powered and come in different sizes and models.
Are mobility scooters right for you?
Mobility scooters are beneficial in enabling you to get back your independence and freedom as well as makeing you feel part of your community. With its assistance, you should be able to get to the nearby local shop and visit family or friends that live nearby. However, they are not suitable for everyone, given the legal requirement in the UK that requires the ability of the driver to read a car's registration plate from 40 feet (12.3 metres).
Types of Scooters
Depending on where the scooters are to be driven, they are classified into class 2 and class 3 vehicles. Class 2 can be used along pavements and have a top speed of 4kmph while class 3 are convenient for roads and can go to a maximum speed of 8kmph. If you are looking for a scooter, it’s important to evaluate the type and size that is suitable for you. For instance, smaller scooters can be conveniently used indoors and can often be dismantled or folded up to fit into the boot of a car. Some retailers will offer basic training on how to conveniently use scooters, but it’s important to have additional training to ensure you are using it safely. You can get such training from your local mobility centre, but you can also check out the free road awareness courses offered by the police forces.

Riser/incliner chairs

These are designed to enable you to stand up and sit down easily and with a reclining action, you should feel even more comfortable. With the press of a button, your chair should rise enabling you to stand steadily. If you are to sit, then you can reposition yourself on the raised seat then press the button to make your chair go down. Some chairs have a manual lever while others are electrically operated and feature a battery backup system in case of power outage. They also come with different movement options and sizes, and you can often add different accessories or additional cushions.
Is a riser recliner chair right for you?
Riser recliner chairs enable you to lie back and get your feet up for a good rest. Also, they make it easier for you to adjust to different positions to avoid getting uncomfortable. Some of the added features designed to suit individual needs include pressure relieving cushions to prevent the sitters from getting pressure sores and keep their joints mobile. Also, there is usually a riser leg rest for those with medical conditions affecting their legs or swollen ankles.
Choosing an effective chair
It’s important that you try out the chair to ensure that it’s easy to operate the controls and comfortable to use and to do this you need to at least operate the controls for about an hour. If a riser chair isn’t right for you, then there are other options you can consider. For instance, if you have a psychotherapist or occupational therapist, ask them to advise on sitting or standing in the right way. Sometimes good posture can alleviate a lot of orthopaedic problems.

Adjustable beds

Also known as profiling or electric beds, these can help you sleep better by providing a comfortable resting position. The beds provide a convenient way to move in and out of bed too. The basic models allow you to lower and raise your upper body, whilst the more complex beds can help you to move into different positions.
Is an adjustable bed suitable for you? They areoften beneficial to those with health conditions such as circulatory and respiratory problems. Just like the ordinary beds, they come in different sizes and also as double beds with two separate mechanisms so that each side can move independently. Compared to the recliner chairs, some beds will feature a “wall hugger” feature which glides the mattress to the wall as it rises. They may also come with additional features, such as heat pads and handrails, with most models featuring a safety mechanism that can sense an obstruction and prevent the bed from moving. The beds can tend to be expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of special mattresses that blend in with the base. Additionally, the bed is connected to a power supply and often needs a battery back-up. You should also consider where to place the bed as it can be heavy and bulky to move.

Stairlifts

Stairlifts can be an absolute boon for people with difficulties walking up and down the stairs. If you are using a wheelchair, you should opt for a stairlift that is compatible with the wheelchair platform. They are usually controlled by a switch on the armrest, with a remote control available too, for a helper to operate. Most of them run on a straight rail but they can also turn corners too, although this can add to the cost quite considerably.

Do remember that all stairlift companies are not equal. Some of them employ high pressure sales staff who earn hefty commissions for pressurising vulnerable people to buy. The consumer magazine 'Which' carried out an excellent survey into stairlifts but unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to read it; if that included you you can find their report here. If not, it's no secret that they recommended Stannah both on price, quality and the ethical way they treat their customers, and since I bought one myself for my wife I have no hesitation in recommending them.
Is a stairlift right for you? With the use of a stairlift, you can conveniently move around the house with much more ease, and they are much easier to install compared to the downstairs bathroom or through-floor lift. Modern stairlifts are compact enough for steep and narrow staircases and can be installed on unusually shaped ones too. For those who have a condition that might affect their mobility, it’s important to consider whether a stairlift is the right option though, and it may be helpful to seek advice from an occupational therapist.

Walking frames

Walking frames are essential for many people with weak legs or balancing problems. There are some that don’t feature wheels, but there are wheeled walkers that provide for a more natural walking rhythm. The walking frames feature between two to four wheels and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The two-wheeled frames (usually provided free by the NHS) are more maneuverable and lighter but are often less stable and more likely to tip compared to the four-wheeled frames. The four-wheeled 'rollators' are more versatile and feature baskets and brakes whilst the two-wheeled 'Zimmer' frame is less bulky and easier for many people to use indoors, particularly over thick carpets. How effective is the wheeled walking frame A wheeled walking frame is a great option if you are looking for a walking aid for indoor or out. The frames enable some people, who need extra support, to walk long distances. If you want to move in a more natural motion or faster than a non-wheeled walker, then the rollators should be your preferred choice. Take note, though, that if you need to put a lot of weight on the frames, or you aren’t capable of operating the brakes, then you think twice about using one. As ever it is essential to get advice from your local occupational therapists before making any decisions.

Wheelchairs

If you are looking for more durable mobility equipment, then you should consider using a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can be both manual and electric, but it’s important that you discuss the best alternative with your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or doctor to evaluate the best alternative.
Is a manual wheelchair right for you?
Manual wheelchairs can be pushed by a helper and are more portable, lighter and easily maneuverable compared to the electric counterparts. Some of them can be easily folder to carry in the boot of a car. A manual wheel chair may be right for you if you have someone who can push it, or you can push it yourself via the handles on the wheels. If you are not in a position to control an electric wheelchair or you need a wheelchair just for short distances, then you should consider a manual wheelchair.
Is an electric wheelchair right for you?
Electric wheelchairs are designed for indoor and outdoor use and feature batteries that enable you to cover long distances. An electric wheelchair may be right for you if you have room to store it in your home, or if you can adapt your home for it's use. If you have no-one to help you and you need to travel fairly long distances, or you find it difficult to push yourself in a manual chair, then an electric counterpart may be the best alternative

Further reading

1) The NHS
2) Independentage.org
df.org
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