What is the Importance of Independence and Mobility Aids?

24.11.2019 0 JEFF C

For anyone with any disability, physical or otherwise, life is just a little more complicated. There are always extra expenses, and those living with disabilities often struggle to be independent of their family or carers. The feeling of being fully independent is incredibly essential for anyone as they move through life, and it can be frustrating when this can’t be achieved. But for those who are living with a disability, this dream is so much harder to reach and what others experience as a little frustration can become something much bigger. This dissatisfaction is only exacerbated as time goes on, and it can be increasingly problematic to try to gain independence later in life. We all know how it feels to desire something desperately as fundamentally human as individual autonomy, but while most of us remain able-bodied and independent for the majority of our lives, a considerable percentage of the population isn’t quite so lucky. Despite the numerous challenges that come with a loss of mobility, everyday life must continue, and physically disabled people have to work out new ways to live it.

The Presence of Mobility-Related Disabilities

Anyone who has ever spent a few months with an arm in a cast or had a stint on crutches will tell you just how difficult it made everyday life. But in the majority of these cases, the frustration is short-lived. The broken bone heals, your capacity for mobility is restored, and life returns to normal. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Whether due to an injury sustained in an accident or any chronic, degenerative condition, the resulting mobility issues can be a huge barrier for anyone in going about their daily lives. Of course, the extent of this loss can vary depending on the nature of the condition. Some maintain the ability to walk but rely on a wheelchair for assistance some of the time, while others are entirely restricted to a chair. The challenges faced are numerous and can often necessitate part-time or even full-time assistance from a friend, family member, or hired carer, depending on the level of progression the condition has reached.

The Correlation Between Age and Disability

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported in their National Health Interview Survey in 2018 that, in the United States alone, 19.4 million people (7.8%) are unable or find it very difficult to walk a quarter of a mile, while a total of 40.7 million people (16.3%) have any difficulties with physical functioning. You can read the full report here, and this only increases with age, as reported by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics in their 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report, a total of 41.1% of the U.S. population with disabilities were aged 65 years and older, as of 2016. When we look at the disabled population spread over the life span, you’ll see that as the U.S. population ages, the percentage of people with disabilities increases:

(Image is taken from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographic’s 2017 ‘Disability Statistics Annual Report)

 Many chronic and degenerative illnesses begin to present signs and cause mobility issues later in life, and the older populations are increasingly at risk of injury and infection as they age. This data highlights the need for resources in support of those struggling with mobility-related disabilities, especially as they progress through life.

In this study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers found that “certain subgroups of older adults, including individuals with mobility difficulty, are at particularly high risk of becoming disabled or experiencing disability progression,” and it illustrates, once again, the increased risk of developing or worsening physical disability associated with aging. The study reported that the older population is more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, whether they are a result of acute events (e.g., a stroke, a fractured hip, and the like) or caused by conditions which progress slowly over time (e.g., heart disease, arthritis, and so forth). You can read more about this research study here.

Disability in All Elements of Life

Issues with mobility restrict individuals in their personal lives and also cause serious challenges in their professional lives. In further reference to the 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report, the difference between the employment rates for those with and without a disability is shocking: It is unquestionably clear from these statistics that the availability of assistance and invaluable resources is paramount to improving the quality of life and independence for those living with physical disabilities that substantially decrease their capacity for mobility.

The Value of the Motorized Wheelchair or Scooter

An essential addition to the lifestyle of anyone facing mobility restrictions is an electric wheelchair. While many users of manual wheelchairs are fully capable of getting around by themselves, this is not a viable option for everyone. Pushing a manual wheelchair requires significant upper body strength and balance from the user to propel themselves and travel. For some, their condition may affect their upper body as well as their lower body, making it impossible for them to exert the muscle strength to push themselves. A manual wheelchair also limits the distance a user can travel, since you have to rely entirely on your strength and energy. For these reasons and countless more, the introduction of a motorized wheelchair can be life-changing.

Designing the Perfect Electric Wheelchair or Scooter to Suit Your Specific Needs

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the right electric wheelchair or scooter. Any of these choices will grant you considerably more independence than before. You can travel much further without strain, easily navigate outdoor spaces and rougher terrain, move much faster than before (up to 8mph), and take advantage of the many customizable features available to you. Depending on the nature of your particular condition, you can choose from a range of control options, like touch pads or joysticks, which cater to your specific abilities and needs. Other accessories and adjustments can easily be made, from leg rests and armrests to recline and tilt features, to ensure you feel comfortable and in control. These features can be invaluable in increasing your necessary quality of life, for many who suffer from such conditions, blood pressure issues, and sores can be serious concerns. Electric wheelchairs are also considerably more durable and reliable than manual chairs. Manufacturers offer both mid-wheel drives, and rear-wheel drive powered wheelchairs, depending on your needs (such as whether you wish to spend more time exploring outdoor spaces or need to be able to maneuver easily through tight indoor spaces).

The Storage Problem and the Storage Solution: Foldable Electric Wheelchairs

One of the most significant downsides to getting an electric wheelchair or scooter is storage. Because of the nature of their design, they are often large, heavy, and generally cumbersome, and this makes it difficult to properly and easily store them without having to make changes to your living space, which is, obviously, not ideal. Plus. It can be an expensive and disruptive process and a significant factor in dissuading users from investing in an upgrade from manual to motorized. However, folding electric wheelchairs have become readily available as a viable and appealing option for those in need of increased mobility assistance. These lightweight, compact, motorized wheelchairs are incredibly functional and offer users increased independence and mobility. There is no longer any need for renovations to your home to accommodate your wheelchair, as these foldable chairs can be easily collapsed to decrease their footprint and stored without difficulty.

Where to Find the Perfect Foldable Electric Wheelchair for You

Whatever your particular needs may be when it comes to control options, leg or armrests, and other customizable features for your electric wheelchair, at ABC, we can cater to your every need and want. Take the stress out of everyday life and give yourself the chance to live the independent life you truly deserve. With the substantially increased mobility offered by our range of lightweight, foldable motorized wheelchairs and scooters, you’ll be free to travel and explore without the old hurdles you used to face. The compact design of our wheelchairs offers you the freedom and autonomy you need, while also serving functionality, practicality, and efficiency. Explore our products HERE, and maybe even take one for a spin. With a little help from Fold And Travel, you can go further, move faster, and live life to the fullest.

Fold & Travel Mobility