The Role of Physical Therapy in Selecting and Using Mobility Aids

Your 1+1 Team
April 7, 2023

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in helping individuals select and use mobility aids. Mobility aids are devices that assist individuals with movement such as walkers, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and scooters. Physical therapists are trained to assess an individual’s functional abilities and determine which mobility aid would best suit their needs.

Physical therapists can help assess your loved one’s current physical abilities in order to pick the right mobility aid. This includes evaluating their balance, strength, range of motion, and endurance. Physical therapists will also assess their ability to safely and effectively use a mobility aid. For example, if a senior has difficulty grasping objects, a standard walker with handles may not be the best option. Instead, a walker with a basket or a walker with wheels and brakes may be more appropriate.

Physical therapists can assess your loved one’s lifestyle needs in order to choose the right mobility aid. Once your elderly family member’s physical abilities have been evaluated, the physical therapist will consider their lifestyle and environment. For example, if they live in a small apartment with narrow doorways and tight corners, a large power scooter may not be practical. Instead, a smaller, more maneuverable mobility aid, such as a manual wheelchair or a walker, may be a better choice.

Physical therapists can make sure your loved one’s mobility aid matches their personal preferences. Some seniors may prefer a certain type of mobility aid based on their own experiences or preferences. For example, an aging adult who has used a cane for many years may feel more comfortable with a cane than with a walker. Physical therapists can work with seniors to determine their personal preferences and help them choose a mobility aid that they will feel comfortable using.

Physical therapists can teach your loved one how to use their mobility aid safely and effectively. This includes teaching them how to properly adjust the height of their mobility aid, how to use the brakes, and how to navigate obstacles. Physical therapists may also provide instructions on how to use the mobility aid on different surfaces, such as grass or gravel, and how to safely negotiate curbs and steps.

Physical therapists can also recommend specific accessories or modifications to the mobility aid to ensure your loved one’s comfort and safety. For example, a physical therapist may recommend adding a seat cushion to a wheelchair to improve comfort or adding a cup holder to a walker for convenience. In addition, physical therapists may recommend modifications to their home environment, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or removing loose rugs, to improve safety and reduce the risk of falls.

With the guidance of a physical therapist, your aging loved one can pick a mobility aid that will improve their mobility and help them to safely and independently navigate their environment. You can read more information on mobility aids with 1+1 Cares.

1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience. 

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