Saturday, April 19, 2008

Time to Move! Choosing Mobility That’s Right For You

It’s Spring! It’s all about getting outside and going places again. Whether you have a permanent or temporary injury or illness, or whether you just don’t have the umphh you once had, considering something to assist your mobility might be on your mind. Or if you already have some mobility equipment, it might be time to upgrade. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for something that will get you where you want to go.

How do your current mobility tools, if you have them, work for you? Knowing what works and does not work for you is sometimes half the battle. If you like some features of your current equipment, but not others, make a note of that before you talk with us. That way you can describe clearly what you like and don’t like.

Where do you want to go? What do you want to do that you can’t do so easily now. Identifying the kinds of activities you most enjoy and need to do is a first step in assessing your mobility needs. You might do just fine with a cane most of the time, for example, but when you go to the zoo with the grandkids or shopping or on a long walk with your honey, you find the cane just does not give you enough support. Looking at a walker with wheels and a seat or an electric scooter for such occasions might make all the difference in your enjoyment level. Consider several different types of tools depending on your activities.

How have your mobility needs changed over time? Are your facing a mobility challenge for the first time or is your condition progressing? Does the time of day or intensity of activity affect you? If you have a temporary situation you might consider renting equipment to try it out. Remember that there are many tools out there, so don’t limit yourself to just what you have seen or heard about before. Talk with us to explore alternatives that might be infinitely more comfortable or suitable to your situation. If you are living with a more permanent situation, or a progressive one that will change your mobility over time, talk with your doctor or physical therapist to get a sense of just how quickly things might change so you can take that into account when making your purchase.

Is the equipment part of your treatment or rehabilitation plan? In many instances involving rehabilitation, it’s quite clear that you will need a mobility device to continue your progress. In other cases, you may know that it is more a matter of your comfort. And then there is the great gray area of whether insurance or Medicare will help cover the costs of your equipment. We have written extensively in our blog about the latest Medicare requirements. For other insurance, you will have to speak with your representative to find out if your needs match eligibility requirements. In any case, speaking with your physician or physical therapist will also help clarify if and how a particular piece of mobility equipment will help you.
What makes you comfortable? While there are lots of techniques we use to ensure that a piece of mobility equipment fits you properly, one of the key measures is how comfortable it feels for you. Don’t settle! Be persistent with trying things out, describing just what makes you comfortable, what you hate. Sometimes renting something is a good way to test the waters, especially if you have never worked with a particular piece of equipment before. Being comfortable will ensure that you will use the equipment. You probably already lots of things lying around the house that you thought you’d love, but just did not work out.

How will you integrate the equipment into your daily life? This is an extension of the comfort question. Let’s suppose your break your ankle while enjoying one of your favorite outdoor activities. Once you get over the initial pain and absolute annoyance of your spring and summer being interrupted, you do have a few choices you can make to ensure you will heal as fast as possible. Nearly everyone knows about the ubiquitous pair of crutches, one of the oldest pieces of mobility equipment on the planet. Did you know you can get comfy armpads and handgrip pads to take the sting and ouch out of using the crutches? You don’t have to wrap a bath towel around it to endure the agony. Or, have you seen the many forms of knee walkers out there? We have one we think is the best around called the Rolleraid. It gives you a kind of independence you just can’t recreate with crutches. Or, if you have been saving to buy a scooter, but don’t think about how you will transport it, you could be disappointed when you find you are still trapped at home because you forgot to inquire about a lift or to check out the travel scooters that come apart in three or four pieces so you can pop them in the trunk.

Whatever your situation, find folks you can trust to talk with. Contact us to learn more about the array of mobility tools that might work for you. Share your experiences about choosing the right piece of equipment here.

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