There are many different kinds of mobility equipment including canes, walkers, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and lifts. Each of these mobility aids addresses specific needs. When used properly, they can greatly improve the lives of those suffering from mobility problems.
The most basic kind of mobility equipment is the cane. Canes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all to address the specific utilitarian and aesthetic needs of their users. One particularly useful variation of the traditional cane is the quad cane, which has four feet and provides a high degree of stability for those with balance issues. Canes are best used in the hand opposite the hurt or weak leg or foot. In this way they act as a counterbalance that reduces strain on the injured or weak limb.
Walkers are another useful form of mobility equipment. Walkers can come with four wheels, two wheels, or no wheels at all. Those with four wheels are easiest to push, but can be less stable. Most four-wheeled walkers come with brakes to prevent the walker from rolling away. Many four-wheeled walkers are also equipped with seats so their users can take short breaks when walking long distances. Two-wheeled walkers are also easy to use, but provide better stability than four-wheeled walkers. Walkers without wheels are the most difficult to maneuver, but also provide the greatest stability as there is no chance of their rolling away from the user.
A third common kind of mobility equipment is the wheelchair. There are two main types of wheelchairs: manual wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs. An electric wheelchair relies on a motor to propel it along. This type of chair is typically a good option for those with little upper-body strength. A manual wheelchair must either be rolled using the grips on the wheels or be pushed by a second individual. Electric wheelchairs tend to be heavier than manual wheelchairs and are harder to transport, whereas many manual wheelchairs can be folded up and stowed away. Both types of wheelchairs are highly customizable and can be equipped with foot and arm rests, neck supports, even shock absorbers and off-road tires.
Similar to an electric wheelchair, mobility scooters run on an electric motor usually located under the seat. Scooters are ideal for people who are unable to walk or stand for long periods of time, but are otherwise mobile. Tight turning radii and ease of use make mobility scooters useful both indoors and out.
Lifts are a final kind of mobility equipment. These are useful for those persons unable to navigate stairs, ramps, and other inclines. Users of a stair lift sit in a seat that moves diagonally up a staircase. A vertical lift raises and lowers a platform from one elevation to another. Both kinds of lift allow users to ascend and descend using little to no effort.
There are many options when choosing mobility equipment. Each option addresses the specific needs of its user. A well-chosen mobility aid will facilitate its user's independence and quality of life when facing mobility disabilities.