Today, older Americans understand the many benefits of exercise, one of which is help with mobility issues. A lack of mobility can have serious consequences for seniors, dramatically altering their quality of life. In fact, accidents, two-thirds of which are falls, are the fifth largest cause of death in the elderly and can be caused by, and result in, mobility problems. So it is no surprise that to help aide in getting around safely and avoiding falls, the usage of canes, walkers and other mobility aids is sharply on the rise – soaring nearly 50 percent over the past decade.
Experts attribute the rise in popularity of mobility devices to several factors — from an aging population to recognition of the need to keep moving in old age. Today there is more acceptance of using devices to aid in mobility, making it easier for seniors to use them both physically and psychologically.
It is estimated that about 8.5 million seniors use mobility devices. The top choices are canes, used by more than 16 percent of seniors. The least popular device appears to be scooters, coming in at just over 2 percent. Women are 20-30 percent more likely to use a mobility device than men, and many older adults use more than one mobility device to get around.
If you want to learn more about mobility aides, ask a doctor or occupational therapist about devices that are best for the person in need. The most common devices include canes, walkers, transfer boards and transfer discs (to help slide out of bed), canes with large handles, risers (sort of like booster chairs) for chairs or couches, swivel seat cushions for the car, and wheelchairs.