Identifying and achieving total mobility solutions for a loved one – or for yourself – can open up a life of new and fulfilling possibilities. But it also can be a daunting task.
Independent Living Specialists is here to help. And, after a decade-and-a-half of providing the handicapped and elderly population of Australia with outstanding mobility devices and support, we have a good understanding of how to help you improve your everyday total mobility. Accordingly, all our stores in Australia are fully stocked with the right mobility solutions to ensure the capabilities you need, at a price that works for you.
We offer a broad range of mobility equipment including walkers, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, power chairs and other aids. Moreover, we have in-house experts with the right kind of experience and knowledge, who will help you navigate your way towards achieving your total mobility goals.
Things to consider ahead of purchasing
First of all, it is important to understand that improving total mobility can be impacted by a variety of issues.
- Understandably, some of them are personal. Yes, dealing with mobility issues often can be an emotional experience. There also is a financial component that can’t be ignored. The prospect of change can be intimidating. And, of course, there is fear of the unknown.
- Others are more functional. First of all, what are the device’s safety features? What types of terrain will you be on most of the time? Do you need portability? What are your needs and preferences regarding weight, size and manoeuvrability? Is speed going to be important? And, how much range in there on a charge?
- Finally, there even are societal considerations. Buildings, homes, offices, public transportation – all physical space, in fact – contain barriers. And disabled persons have errands, just like everyone else. Doctor visits. Groceries to buy. Classes and events to attend. Work. Social life. You name it. New-found access also means more than just being able to show up on time. It can be life-saving. Fact: Barriers prevent too many individuals with disabilities from getting routine preventative medical care. Result: Too many undetected minor problems can turn into major and possibly life-threatening problems.
Independent Living Specialists will work with you to fully address these issues and assess how they might impact your total mobility needs and decision-making process.
Finding a mobility aid that works for you
Once your needs move past a cane, there are two categories of walkers from which to choose:
Basic walkers (four static legs or two static legs with small wheels on the front) are the starting point for many individuals as they are lightweight, inexpensive, adjustable, long-lasting and very portable. Most importantly, they provide a level of stability for a user new to using a device.
Mobility (seat) walkers are also an option. They have seats and enable a user to move, stop and rest safely and independently. A rollator four-wheeled walker, for instance, includes a locking brake system, handbrakes, and flat ridged wheels to decrease wheel sway and increase grip, a comfortable foldable rounded backrest and is usable both indoors and outdoors.
A wheelchair is an important mobility aid that gives the user a sense of independence to move about freely and improve total mobility with or without a caregiver. Wheelchair alternatives fall into three categories: transit, self-propelled and electric. The choice should be driven by intended usage; weight, size and space considerations; degree of disability; social environment, and other personal factors.
Transit chairs require the assistance of a caregiver or another person as they have small rear wheels, meaning the user cannot propel oneself while seated.
Self-propelled chairs have larger wheels with push rims or rings reachable by the user, enabling the occupant to propel independently on any distance depending on the user’s capabilities and the type of chair. They are very useful for people who find it difficult to walk or cannot stand for a longer period of time which necessitates being transported while seated.
Electric wheelchairs increase self-reliance due to their easy manoeuvring and capability of moving without tiring the user.
Total mobility also extends to sitting in and rising from, chairs. This is especially true for individuals suffering from arthritis, general limited mobility or for aged care. Our lift chairs are the ideal solution as a built-in motor (some even have dual motors) lifts the chair up and forwards for easy sitting and standing positions, therefore aiding total mobility.
Bring your questions. We have the answers.
You’ve already come up with multiple questions that you want to ask. And your family and friends have suggested some as well. We are happy to provide you with our thoughts about each and every one.
- You might be wondering, for example, about the following:
- Which device or devices do I really need and would it really help?
- How do I decide between one choice and another? Scooter, wheelchair, walker?
- What are the most-important things I need to think about?
- How much should we spend?
- What if I don’t like the device or can’t figure it out?
Our mobility aids – walkers, wheelchairs, power scooters, lift chairs – are designed to address very specific needs and enhance total mobility. Within each of those categories, your individual situation also matters a great deal.
Avoid the most common mistakes
- Clear objectives. You can’t know what you need if you aren’t clear as to which issues you are trying to address. How much walking do you actually do, and do you do it daily? Are you addressing pain or weakness – or balance? Are you clear about what part of your body is the issue? One side or both? Before choosing a cane, walker, or even scooter, consider your day-to-day schedule and the amount of walking you do each day or each week.
- Mechanics. The designation “adjustable” doesn’t mean a device works with everyone. Your weight matters and you likely will consider that in your shopping. But your height matters as well. You are going to lean on the device from time to time, and it needs to be tall enough and sturdy enough to support the angle caused by your height. If not, you could have balance problems and fall.
- Home layout and day-to-day activities. Although your device will grant you greater mobility, it can’t alter the layout of your residence or change your daily activities. Make sure you clearly understand those before deciding what type of aid you might want to purchase.
- Benefits of external “scouting.” Mobility devices can help you to remain independent. But they frequently necessitate some changes to your routine. Advice: take time to think about the best route to use for your travel; travel during off-peak times and avoid busy roads, small sidewalks, construction sites, etc.
- Right piece of equipment vs. wrong piece of equipment. Do some individuals choose a mobility device on their own and not seek the advice of a doctor or other expert? Yes. Easy and efficient, right? Well, maybe …. but also dangerous. The wrong aid – which may provide too much or too little support – can cause a further deterioration in mobility for some patients. Factor to consider: are your mobility needs different day to day or week to week?
- Comfort from proper training. Training is important. Remember: buying the best mobility device is only 50% of the task. The other 50% is to understand how to use it properly. Take advantage of training. It’s about safety and well-being.
- Importance of maintenance. For most mobility aids, you can do your routine maintenance and repairs at home. However, ensure you get professional service and maintenance every six months or so.
Independent Living Specialists delivers total mobility solutions, innovation and customer satisfaction. Our more than 150 staff collectively work to ensure the best outcomes and that each customer is always attended to with absolute professionalism and attention to detail. When you or your family need equipment, no matter what age, Independent Living Specialists should be your first port of call.