This weekend marks the second anniversary of Disabled Access Day. The aim is to encourage those living with a disability to try something new in a safe environment, giving them the knowledge and confidence to use these services in the future.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a short guide to better explain what reduced mobility means and highlight the equipment available to help those with a mobility impairment live more independently.
Reduced mobility VS physical impairment
Reduced mobility can be a trait acquired from birth, a progressive development over time or the product of a specific condition/accident. A physical impairment is defined as a condition which requires adaptation. This type of disability includes upper or lower limb loss or disability, manual dexterity and disability in co-ordination with different organs of the body.
Reduced mobility is often a considered factor in the aging process. Loss in muscle strength and mass, less mobile and stiffer joints, as well as gait changes affect a person's balance and may significantly comprise their mobility. As mobility is crucial to the maintenance of independent living, if an individual’s mobility is restricted, it may affect their daily activities.
Individuals with physical and mobility impairments may experience a loss of motor and/or fine motor skills. They may have a limited range of motion, and be reluctant to attempt movement. Reduction in mobility can range from low level impairment to significant impairment where the individual requires a high level of support.
Getting the equipment you need
It’s important to understand that being physically disabled does not necessarily result in dependency. Many people simply require different services or equipment in order to complete daily tasks independently.
If you have a significant restriction to your mobility, equipment and services can be provided through your Local Council, following an assessment – usually completed by an Occupational Therapist. Individuals with low level mobility restriction, often self purchase equipment that will help them remain independent.
Although the majority of people with mobility impairment are not dependent on a wheelchair, and simply need to use one intermittently, the physical barriers in our society still pose a problem – with doorways that are not wide enough, steps, inaccessible bathing facilities etc. It’s this fact which makes recognising the efforts of Disabled Access Day so essential.
Which products are best to use?
For those living with physical impairments, mobility aids such as crutches, a cane, walking frame, wheelchair, orthotic appliances and artificial limbs are often the preferred method of mobility. But for those with less substantial mobility needs, the following equipment could help significantly:
Low Level Reduced Mobility, equipment that may be suitable:
- Kitchen aids – perching stool, kitchen trolley
- Bathing equipment – bath lift, grab rail, bath board, bath step, shower stool
- Toileting equipment – raised toilet seat, toilet frame, commode
- Walking aids – rollator, walking stick
- Seating aids – furniture raisers, high back chairs, riser recliner chairs
- Household aids – reacher and grabber, dressing equipment
- Bed aids – leg lifter, mattress variator, pillow lifter, bed lever, bed rail
Medium to High Level Mobility Restriction, equipment that may be suitable*:
Other housing adaptations to consider may include: a level access shower, stair lift, through floor lift, widened doorways, stair climbers and specialist postural seating.
* Please note that we would always recommend that you seek the advice of a healthcare professional before purchasing these products.
How can NRS Healthcare help with reduced mobility?
One of the best things about NRS Healthcare is our team of Occupational Therapists (OT’s). Not only can they provide you with free equipment advice via the internet, telephone or face-to-face, but for a fee they can also provide a private home assessment – complete with a comprehensive report and recommendation of equipment and adaptations that will help you remain as independent as possible.
Our OT’s can also point you towards statutory services that you may be eligible to receive, whilst using their wealth of knowledge and experience to offer personalised solutions that will help you stay independent. Additionally, their close working relationships with Local Authority Commissioners enable them to explain specialist services that you may not be aware of, such as Falls Services, Keep Warm in the Winter, Good Neighbour Schemes etc.