How to Prevent Falls in the Mobility Impaired
Mobility equipment including canes, crutches, rollators, and walkers are meant to help keep people safe and help promote independence and mobility in those facing physical limitations. While these walking devices help to make walking possible, it doesn’t always make it safer. Many people and their loved ones find false comfort in the stability and support of walking aids and do little to prevent falls and subsequent injuries. In today’s post, the Perkins Medical team will offer a few tips about how to prevent falls in the mobility impaired.
Mind the Reason You Need the Device
It is important to remember that walking aids and mobility devices are not cures to your physical limitations, but are assistive devices to help you maintain independence. While these devices are designed to help you get around easier and safer, they do not take away your limitations. To safely use these devices, you’ll need to be mindful of the reason you need them to begin with. For instance, if you are using a rollator due to concerns with balance and fatigue or because you have suffered recent falls, you’ll need to be aware that standing up too quickly, not resting, and not using the rollator properly may still result in difficulty balancing, fatigue, and may lead to a fall. Use the hand breaks and the convenient seat option to help avoid problems.
Use the Walking Device Properly
Incorrectly using a walking aid or mobility device is about as effective as not using one at all. There is potential to injure yourself or others if the device is not used properly. For instance, walkers are not meant to be pulled on, you should be in a standing position prior to putting your weight on a walker. Canes and crutches are not meant to be replacement legs, rather support while you balance on your good leg. Never rest your armpits and bodyweight on the crutches as you walk. Rollators and walkers should always be pushed forward while in full contact with the ground and always using both hands. Baskets and attachable bags can help carry items to allow you to focus on the correct use of your mobility device. Modifications can be made to either device if you also have an upper body limitation. Your walking aid and mobility devices should always be sized to fit you and your needs. Positioned too high or too low may cause you to work harder and use incorrect posture, which may result in injury. Prior to using your walking aid, ensure you know how to use it properly.
Remain Aware of Your Surroundings
Just like regular walking, the best way to avoid and prevent falls with walking aids and mobility devices is to be aware of your surroundings. Watch for curbs, cracks, and uneven surfaces. Be mindful of pets, children, and loose items on the floor like rugs and cords. If you are using a mobility device, the space you take up will be more than you are used to, so just make sure you won’t get stuck and have the turning radius you’ll require. Never sacrifice safety for convenience.
At Perkins Medical Supply, we rent, sell, and repair walking aids of all kinds. We take insurance to cover durable medical equipment or can work with you to get you the mobility supplies you need. Shop our walkers and rollators online or visit our power chairs and scooters catalogs if walking isn’t the safest option for you. Our experienced and compassionate staff are glad to help orient you to your new device and give you some pointers on safe use. For all of your medical equipment needs, visit us online or stop by one of our four Florida locations. Connect with us today!